- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2002

An overwhelming majority of college students, most of whom identify themselves as liberal, give President Bush high marks for his handling of the September 11 attacks, according to a poll released yesterday.

Nearly 75 percent of the students surveyed last month said Mr. Bush was doing a good job in handling the attacks and their aftermath. Another 65 percent said they were glad that he is president, and some 7 percent said they regarded Mr. Bush as a hero, the poll showed.

"This poll definitely shows that George W. Bush has a strong base of support among students, which is fairly interesting when you look at the ideological leanings of these students," said Ed Goeas, political analyst and president of the Tarrance Group, which conducted the poll.

More than half, or 55 percent, called themselves liberal, compared with 39 percent who described themselves as conservative, the poll showed.

Mr. Goeas attributes the high marks to how Mr. Bush has led the country through the aftermath of the attacks.

"He really has connected with people on a variety of different levels, in ways we haven't seen a politician do in a long time in this country," Mr. Goeas said. "September 11 has played a substantial part in how the students view and define George Bush, and that created a connection that three presidential elections and millions of dollars couldn't create."

The poll was conducted at the request of the Independent Women's Forum in Washington and SheThinks.org, whose members wanted to see how the September 11 attacks affected college students across the country. The poll surveyed 600 students, who are between the ages of 18 and 25. Of those surveyed, 33 percent of students were black, Hispanic, and Asian.

Ninety-six percent of college students indicated that the events of September 11 have had some kind of impact on their lives. Twenty-two percent said the attacks had a "profound" impact on them, while 44 percent described the impact as "noticeable."

Students now rate personal responsibility and family as the most important values in society, the poll showed.

"College students used to have very bloated expectations," said Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Loveline and assistant professor of pediatrics at Los Angeles Children's Hospital. "Their attitudes have shifted from a sense of entitlement to one of a higher degree of gratitude."

One in three students, or 64 percent, said the attacks have caused them to change their behavior in some ways. Since the attacks, 32 percent of students reported they now spend more time praying, and 22 percent spend more time studying. An estimated 25 percent of students said they spend more time volunteering.

More than half of the students said they want to change the way they live their life.

When asked to identify their heroes, 9 percent of the students said they thought their teacher or academic adviser has had a "huge" impact on their lives. Mr. Bush came in second with 7 percent, while New York City police officers and firefighters came in third.

What was once called "a jaded and shockless population" is no more, said Kate Kennedy, director of SheThinks.org.

"This polls shows that the youth in America does actually care about something," Miss Kennedy said.

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