Around 72% had a favourable view of universities.
Just 36 percent of Republicans think they have a positive effect.
Are they saying higher education is bad for Americans?
Younger Republicans still have more positive views of colleges than older Republicans, but the share of those under 50 who view colleges positively has fallen 21 points (from 65 percent to 44 percent) since 2015. However, Democrats have a different dynamic than Republicans when income is factored in, with wealthier respondents viewing higher education more positively than their lower-income peers. Only 28 percent of Republicans over 50 say college is good for the country, a drop of 15 points from two years ago.
The overall public viewpoint nearly exactly meets the middle of the two opposing political sides, with 55% believing that the colleges help the US.
Seventy-two percent of Democrats think colleges and universities are helping to steer the country in the right direction.
The poll also finds partisan divides regarding the national news media and labor unions.
The skinny on NC and Trump's request for election data
Maryland waited until Monday to announce that the state would join the growing ranks of states that are rejecting the request.
Almost half (44%) of Republicans age 18 - 49 believe higher education positively affects the nation, while MORE than half (52%) of Republicans age 18 to 29 see college as a positive force.
- Among Republicans, or Independents leaning Republican, only 10 percent thought the news media was a positive force compared to 85 percent who rated it as a negative.
59 percent overall have a positive outlook on churches/religious orgs.
Liberal Democrats are about as likely to say religious institutions have a negative impact on the way things are going in the United States (44 percent) as they are positive (40 percent).
Pew also found that 46 percent of those unaffiliated with any religion and 43 percent of those who seldom or never attend religious services believe churches and religious groups have a negative impact on society.
Across all political affiliations, only 26 percent of people believe that churches have a negative effect on the country.
Others have come to the Democratic Party's defense, with one New Republic pointing out that the same 2012 convention had plenty of overtly Christian expression on the main stage and in the platform.
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