Americans’ Views of Police, Professors Split Along Party Lines

(CN) – The majority of Americans in both political parties hold teachers and members of the military in high regard, but are starkly divided in their opinions of police and college professors, according to a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.

In a survey conducted between Aug. 8 to 21, Pew researchers asked 4,904 American adults about their feelings toward certain groups of people, including teachers, college professors, people in the military, police officers, liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats.

Researchers found that members of the military received the “warmest” ratings from the public on a “feeling thermometer” — where 0 degrees is the coldest, most negative rating, and 100 degrees represents the warmest, most positive rating.

Republicans and Democrats alike view people in the military warmly, with Republicans giving members of the armed forces a rating of 92 on the thermometer, and Democrats giving them an 82.

Teachers are also highly regarded, with an average rating of 78. However, the poll found that college and university-level educators are not as highly regarded by Republicans.

While 66 percent of Democrats gave professors a warm or very warm rating, only 30 percent of Republicans gave professors a warm rating. Forty-three percent of Republicans gave professors a cold rating, including 27 percent who gave them a very cold rating.

Some of the coldest views of professors are held by older Republicans. Among Republicans 52 and older, 64 percent have a cold view of professors.

Republicans and Democrats are also differ in their opinions of police. Republicans feel more warmly toward police officers, with 86 percent giving officers warm ratings.

A significantly smaller majority of Democrats, 57 percent, gave police officers a warm rating.

Only 18 percent of the public, including both Republicans and Democrats, gave police a cold rating.

There are also sharp differences in how Republicans and Democrats view political parties and ideological groups.

Ratings from Republicans and Democrats of the opposing party’s members have grown more negative over the last year, according to the Pew report.

Today, 76 percent of Republicans have a cold view of Democrats, while 70 percent of Democrats have a cold view of Republicans.

The majority of members of both groups give their own party a warm rating, but Democrats are more likely than Republicans to view their own party very warmly (45 percent compared to 39 percent).

Few members of the GOP say the term “Republican” applies very well to them, but most Republicans, 58 percent, say the term describes them fairly well.

Over the past year, there has been a significant change in the share of Republican-leaning independents who say the label “Republican” applies to them. Only a third of those people say the term describes them very or fairly well – a major shift from last year, when nearly half of Republican-leaners said the descriptor fit them well.

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