Some people are describing this poll as good news. It only seems that way because we’ve lowered the bar so drastically that anything short of a majority committing to bombing the Empire State Building seems good.
It’s not good news.
The poll finds 86% of college students saying they’re aware of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. And of that share, 67% describe the attack as an act of terrorism by Hamas, versus 12% who see it as a justified act of resistance by Hamas. Another 21% describe it as something else other than an act of terrorism or resistance.
1 in 10 college students support the murder, rape and kidnapping of Israeli civilians. Only 2 out of 3 can even bring themselves to call it terrorism. 1 in 5 are not even sure how to define it, but don’t want to call it terrorism.
These are catastrophic numbers for what should have been the lowest of low bars, horrifying atrocities against civilians caught on video and recorded in photos, widely discussed and made available, and not even 70% will call it terrorism.
The numbers predictably get worse with party and race breakdowns.
By party, 73% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats and 50% of independents say they blame Hamas for the attack on Israel.
And by race, 58% of white college students, 47% of Latinos and 36% of Black college students believe Hamas deserves blame for the attack.
50% among non-Republicans. Not even a majority among non-whites. A third among black people.
Generation Lab doesn’t make its polls public so I can’t dig into the data any further, but there’s little here that inspires optimism and plenty that shows where the hate on campus is coming from.
Even if we limit the worst of it to that 12%, remember that’s the 12% that is much more likely to run student government, control student newspapers, attend protests, speak up, and generally be more visible and powerful.
Higher education is in a catastrophic state. It turns out enemies of our country and of basic civilized values.