Survey finds most liberal, most conservative alumni

The U.S. Air Force Academy and Reed College in Oregon, when it comes to the social and political views their alumni, are on the extreme, opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Based on a survey in “The Alumni Factor,” a new book that ranks colleges based on the success of graduates in their careers and lives, Reed’s alumni are the most liberal college grads in the United States and the Air Force Academy’s graduates are the most conservative.

Rounding out the top 10 liberal colleges and universities, based on data from their alumni, are Oberlin, Macalester, Grinnell, Bard, Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Wesleyan and Smith.

In addition to the Air Force Academy, the schools with the most conservative alumni are Brigham Young, Auburn, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, Texas A & M, University of Mississippi, Georgia Institute of Technology, Baylor and the University of Alabama.

The political leanings of the schools’ alumni were based on an assessment of responses to 20 hot-button questions, including gay marriage, racial profiling, abortion rights and government-funded health care.

Monica McGurk, executive editor of “The Alumni Factor,” said more than 42,000 alumni in the survey were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with each statement regarding the controversial social issues.

The questions were asked in both affirmative and negative ways to control for bias, she said.

Each college’s alumni responses were then plotted relative to one another on a “very liberal” to “very conservative” spectrum.

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