By: Avi Hirsch and Benjamin Koslowe | News  | 

More Than 60 Percent of YU Undergraduates Lean Republican, Younger Undergraduates Tend More Republican Than Older Students, Poll Finds

A recent poll conducted by The Commentator found that a majority of YU undergraduate students identify as Republicans or lean Republican. The results also indicated that younger Yeshiva University undergraduate students tend to be notably more conservative than older students.

77 percent of first year students identify as Republicans or lean Republican, compared to 65 percent of students in their second year, 58 percent of third years and only 44 percent of fourth years. Responses indicated a similar trend regarding undergraduate support of the recent Kavanaugh nomination and President Trump, with younger students tending to be more supportive of them than older students.

“It is exciting to have some reliable data about the political climate on campus,” said Professor Silke Aisenbrey, the Chair of the Department of Sociology and one of the professors who was consulted for advice on polling methodology. “I’m happy that the students reached out for advice and gave faculty the chance to help them get as close to a representative sample of students as possible,” she explained.

Overall, the poll indicated that 64 percent of YU undergraduate students identify as Republicans or lean Republican, versus 28 percent who identify as Democrats or lean Democratic. YU undergrads similarly tend to lean conservative, with 50 percent of students identifying as somewhat or very conservative versus only 23 percent who are somewhat or very liberal/progressive. Another 22 percent identify as moderate.

The poll found that of YU’s undergraduate populations, the men from Sy Syms School of Business students tend to be more Republican than the other colleges, followed by Yeshiva College, with students from Stern College for Women being the most Democratic overall.

“A majority of YU students lean Republican,” reflected Rachel Zakharov, the President of the YU College Republicans, “and for the first time in a long time we have a unique opportunity to make a difference and Yeshiva University is central to that role.”

In addition to asking about political leanings, the poll inquired of students’ voting preferences and the extent to which they approve of President Trump, the job that Congress is doing and the recent Kavanaugh confirmation. Men and women differed regarding their support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation and approval of the job President Trump is doing. Despite most undergraduate women leaning Republican, more women disapproved than approved of the Kavanaugh confirmation, and more women disapproved than approved of President Trump.

“I think the conservatism of the campus is expected, considering that this is YU,” said Matthew Haller, the President of the YU College Democrats. “However, in the last few years the College Democrats have mobilized far more students than we thought possible, which goes to show that things aren’t so clear-cut.”

One issue that YU undergraduates generally agree on is the importance of Israel relative to other issues when voting. 74 percent of students consider Israel to be “very” or “extremely” important to them, relative to other issues, when considering who to vote for; only 24 percent say Israel is “somewhat” or “not at all” important relative to other issues. While strong support for Israel remained consistent in results across colleges, there was a partisan divide on this issue within the student body, with students who lean Democratic tending to be less supportive of Israel overall than those who lean Republican.

For a more detailed breakdown of the poll’s results, please see the article “Commentator 2018 Midterm Election Poll: A Detailed Analysis.