IOP Survey Finds Firm Support for War on College Campuses

Contact: Gordon Li
Phone: 617-496-4009
Contact Organization: Institute of Politics
Date: November 01, 2001

Cambridge, MA -- College students strongly support U.S. led air strikes and the use of ground troops in Afghanistan although support is approximately ten percent lower than the general population, according to a new survey of undergraduates throughout the country conducted by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University. The survey also found that trust in government and civic engagement has risen significantly among college students over the last eighteen months.

“This year's survey of undergraduates is critical because the bulk of the soldiers called to serve are young people," said Senator David Pryor, Director of the Institute of Politics. "College students are ready to serve their country, and more than two thirds have already made some contribution toward the September 11 relief efforts. Perhaps one silver lining in this national tragedy is that students are more civically engaged and less cynical toward the federal government than in previous years.”

A Strong Majority of College Students Favor Military Action

79% of college students support U.S. led air strikes, compared to 92% of the general population as reported by an ABC News survey on 10/8-10/9/2001

68% of college students favor the use of ground troops, compared to

80% of the general population as reported by a CNN survey on 10/19-10/21/200171% of male undergraduates would serve if the draft were reinstated and they were selected; 26% would seek other options


Trust in the Federal Government and Civic Engagement has Increased

60% of undergraduates trust the federal government to do the right thing all or most of the time, compared to 36% in 2000

75% of undergraduates trust the military to do the right thing, 69% trust the President, 62% trust Congress

71% of students have donated blood, given money, or volunteered in relief efforts stemming from the September 11 terrorist attack.

77% of students now say politics is relevant to their lives as opposed to 68% last year

69% have volunteered for community service, up from 60% in 2000

68% of students named terrorism as the issue that concerned them the most; terrorism was not named as an issue in the 2000 survey

The IOP survey of 1,200 undergraduates across the country was conducted between October 17-25, 2001 and carries a margin of error of +/-2.8% at the 95% confidence level.

This poll is part of an annual study of college students' attitudes toward public service and government. It is unique because it is created and analyzed by a group Harvard college undergraduates, led by Erin Ashwell ‘02 and Trevor Dryer ‘02, with the assistance of John DellaVolpe, President of Boston-based opinion research firm SWR/DellaVolpe.

The Institute of Politics was established in 1966 with an endowment from the John F. Kennedy Library Corporation to inspire undergraduate students to enter careers in politics and public service, and to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic community and the political world.

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