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Survey Shows College Students Are Pessimistic About Nation’s Direction

Survey Shows College Students Are Pessimistic About Nation’s Direction

By Leah Westfall

May 19, 2011

What direction do you think the country is headed? According to a study that polled 400 students in higher learning institutions nationwide, half of the college students believe the country is “on the wrong track.”

The yearly survey conducted by the Panetta Institute gauges college students level of interest when it comes to politics and civic involvement. Telephone and online interviews were conducted by Hart Research Associates and given to college students nationwide.

According to the survey’s findings over the past year U.S. college students have turned dramatically more negative in their view of where the country is heading. The portion of students who say the country is on the “right track” has fallen from 53 percent last year to only 37 percent today. The downward shift is larger among students who identify themselves as Democrats or independents.

Student’s Thoughts on the Economy:

When it comes to the economy students aren’t too optimistic either, only 15 percent of students view the economy as “good” and not a single student rated it as excellent. Sixty-two percent of students rated the economy as “not so good” and 23 percent rated it as poor.

Sixty-one percent of students believed the worst of the economic recession is now behind us; 35 percent said they feel the worst is yet to come.

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Their Thoughts on their Job Prospect:

The number one issue on students minds? Improving the job situation – they rated it as their most important issue. Fifty-seven percent of students rated this issue as their biggest concern followed closely by 42 percent of students saying dealing with the cost of college was their biggest concern.

On the President:

Students gave President Barak Obama a 56 percent approval rating, that’s far above the 48 percent approval rating adults gave him in a national poll taken about the same time as the survey. Students gave President Obama about the same rating this time last year.

How they Feel about Their Education:

Most students believe their education thus far has been worth it. Fifty percent of students said their education thus far was “fairly good” and 33 percent said their education was a “very good” value.

When asked how they feel their education has prepared them to compete with students from other countries in the global economy 62 percent said they feel their education prepares them “well”, 13 percent said “very well” and 49 percent said “fairly well”.

Students also reported strong feelings about online education; 39 percent of students say they have taken an accredited online class that does not meet in person, 76 percent of students said an online class “does not offer the same quality of teaching and learning as an in-person class”.

See the complete results of the study here.


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