A recent YouGov poll asked more than 22,000 Americans their opinions on how a college education affects a person’s political ideology. Nearly half of Americans (47%) – including 56% of college graduates – say that going to college generally makes people more liberal, while only 6% say it makes them more conservative. About one in five (22%) say college has no effect on ideology.
People who are themselves very conservative or conservative are more likely to say that going to college makes a person very liberal than people who identify as liberal are to say this. Moderates are most likely to say that college doesn’t change a person’s ideology.
We also looked at how the subject a person studied in college relates to their opinions on the topic. At least half of people in all subject areas say that college makes people more liberal. People who studied math (63%), law (63%), liberal arts/humanities (61%), and social sciences (61%) were most likely to say college has the effect of making people more liberal. People who studied engineering (9%) and accounting (9%) were most likely to say college makes people more conservative – though still only a small fraction of them say this is the case.
— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article
This poll was conducted April 29 - May 2, 2022, among 22,005 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll