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Right-leaning Princeton freshmen find community despite being in minority

More than 70 percent of current freshmen surveyed expressed ‘unfavorable’ views of cancel culture

Just over 11 percent of the Princeton University freshmen students are “somewhat right-leaning” or “very right-leaning,” according to The Daily Princetonians third annual “Frosh Survey.”

Only 7.6 percent have a “somewhat favorable” or “strongly favorable” view of the Republican Party, the undergraduate campus newspaper survey found.

In contrast, 40.6 percent of freshmen said they are “somewhat left-leaning,” while 27.7 percent described themselves as “very left-leaning,” according to the survey.

One freshman who spoke to The College Fix said there is a supportive community of conservatives on campus, but there is definitely a “leftward lean” at Princeton.

“Whether it be mandatory DEI training in orientation or disparaging comments of President Trump in a lecture, there’s no denying the leftward lean of campus politics,” freshman Joseph Tyson told The College Fix via email. “However, I have been pleasantly surprised to find a vibrant conservative community that supports each other as the ideological minority,” he stated.

“While I wouldn’t go as far to say I feel comfortable to share all my views openly at any time on campus, I feel supported as a campus conservative and have a space to share my true beliefs unfiltered,” Tyson wrote.

Another freshman student, Zach Gardner, agreed that there is a good community of right-leaning individuals on campus.

“The fact that 11.4% of freshmen are right-leaning is pleasantly surprising,” Gardner told The Fix via email. “I knew Princeton had a sizable conservative enclave, but I didn’t expect it to be that high.”

“There are a number of great conservative groups to get involved with, and I have met a lot of great people through them,” Gardner wrote. “Conservative community at Princeton is small but mighty, and it commands a campus presence much larger than its numbers.”

The campus newspaper survey included 925 total responses, which represent over 60 percent of the freshman class, the Daily Princetonian reported. It conducted the survey via email and also promoted it in Princeton freshmen Facebook groups June 23 to July 8  according to its “Methodology” page but the results were only recently released.

The results are consistent with the previous two installations of the annual freshman survey. Just over 11 percent of the Class of 2024 described themselves as “somewhat” or “very conservative,” while 11.7 percent of the Class of 2025 described themselves as “somewhat” or “very conservative.”

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber committed the institution in 2020 to increasing the membership of underrepresented groups on campus.

The Fix emailed Princeton communications to ask whether these initiatives apply to underrepresented political ideologies, and whether there are potential problems with a majority representation of liberalism among the student body. A media representative declined to comment.

Support for Biden, progressive policies decreased from last year’s survey, of the Class of 2025

While most of the freshmen class considers themselves liberal, not all are on board with every progressive political agenda item.

Support for President Joe Biden has decreased. Over 37 percent of freshmen indicated a “somewhat” or “strongly favorable” opinion of Biden, compared to 43.7 percent of the Class of 2024 and 58.3 percent of the Class of 2025.

The results further indicate decreased support for progressive policies. Over 56 percent of freshmen have a “strongly favorable” view of the Black Lives Matter movement, down from 74.1 percent of the Class of 2024 and 63.7 percent of the Class of 2025.

Only 33.33 percent of this year’s freshmen indicated a “somewhat” or “strongly favorable” view of “proposals to defund the police,” according to the survey.

Just over 33 percent of freshmen had “somewhat” or “strongly unfavorable views on socialism, outweighing the 29.9 percent who had “somewhat” or “strongly favorable” views, according to the survey.

Additionally, 71.4 percent of freshmen indicated they have unfavorable views of cancel culture, compared to less than one percent expressing “strongly favorable” views, the survey stated.

Gardner, one of the freshman conservatives, was “pleasantly surprised” that a majority of students oppose cancel culture, he wrote to The Fix. However, “the survey doesn’t account for the definition of ‘cancel culture,’ as both sides of the political spectrum have different views as to what it exactly means,” he stated.

MORE: Just 6.4 percent of Harvard’s 2022 grads say they’re conservative: survey

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About the Author
Abigail Anthony - Princeton University