WASHINGTON (TND) — The tribalism of modern American politics is increasingly sewing division on college campuses. A new NBC/Generation Lab poll, solely focused on sophomores, shows 46% of those students would not want to live with someone from the other political party.
"We asked this because of the polarized electricity running through the ether and we want to see how this is manifesting with young people,” said Generation Lab CEO Cyrus Beschloss. “One of the biggest choices that they make is who they live with, who they spend time with, who they share a bedroom with a lot of the time"
Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to “room across the aisle,” the data found. Sixty-two percent of Democrats told pollsters they would not room with a Republican compared with only 28% of Republicans who said they would not room with a Democrat.
While this intolerance is outrageous, it’s actually not surprising to anyone who has even set foot on a college campus recently," said Alexa Schwerha with Campus Reform.
According to Beschloss, the dynamic of campus demographics may play a role in the apparent intolerance disparity between parties.
“You have Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2:1. You actually have as many Independents as you have Republicans on campus.”
The tribalism on campus extends to dating. Of those polled, 53% would not date someone with different politics and 63% would not marry across party lines.
Beschloss pointed out this polarization likely didn’t appear out of nowhere, “I do think that young people today are walking on the political terrain that’s been defined by previous generations.”
Schwerha argues the environment on campus plays a role.
"When academics – when professors and administrators don’t respect conservatives or conservative ideas, it’s no wonder that college Democrats don’t think it’s important to even recognize tolerance and be in the same room as someone who thinks differently than they do."
Beschloss said in future Generation Lab studies they’d like to dig more scientifically into the “why” behind the disparity in polarization.