Poll: Less Than 10% Of Students At America’s Top Private High School Identify As Conservative

Samuel Phillips Hall, Phillips Academy Andover, Andover, Massachusetts, USA
Barry Winiker via Getty Images

Less than 10% of students at Massachusetts’ Phillips Academy Andover, one of America’s most prestigious private schools, identify as conservatives, the latest edition of an annual poll of the institution reveals.

The poll, titled “State of the Academy,” measured students’ political demographics and beliefs. The academy has an acceptance rate of just 9%, the largest yearly endowment of any private boarding school at more than $1.2 billion, and a long list of powerful alumni. The anonymous survey achieved an 81% participation rate with the student body, with 931 respondents.

While just 8.6% of students self-identified as conservatives, 2.7% said they were libertarians, 38.9% said they were liberal, 6.1% said they were socialists, 1.9% said they were communists, and 13.3% said they were independents. The second largest group, behind liberals, were those who said they were “unsure” at 26.5%.

An overwhelming majority of conservatives at the school, 94.7%, said they engage in self-censorship. While 70.8% of Libertarians noted that they also self-censor, only 33.2% of liberals and 31.5% of socialists said the same.

When asked, “Have your political beliefs changed in the past year?” 62.7% said their beliefs stayed the same, while 19.8% said they moved to the left, and 17.5% said they moved to the right. The overwhelming majority of respondents, 88.6%, said that “there is a political leaning to the left on campus.”

The top five news sources for students were, in order, the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC.

Students were also asked about specific social and political issues. One question read, “Do you think that people should have the right to have an abortion?” Of the respondents, only 1.9% of students said no, while 18.9% said: “Yes, only in some circumstances.” A staggering 79.2% of students responded, “Yes, always.” Men were less supportive of abortion, with 65.3% saying abortion should always be a right, compared to 88.4% of women.

The survey, which defined racism as “the systemic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power,” found that just 34.4% of respondents believe that white people can experience racism. The figure was slightly higher for Asian and white respondents, who thought white people could experience racism 37.5% and 37.2% of the time, respectively. 

While 80.2% of students said they support affirmative action, 75.5% of Asians and 95.9% of black respondents said that they approve of such policies.

A whopping 91.1% of students said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, while just 8.9% said they did not. While 8.6% said that the current prison system in the United States should be abolished, 64% said that it should be reformed, though the poll does not specify which reforms they endorse. Similarly, 67.4% of students said the police system should be altered, though the survey does not discuss specific policy changes.

Almost three-quarters of respondents, 73.5%, said it should be easier to immigrate to the United States, while just 2.8% said it should be more difficult. 

While 92.7% of respondents believe gun laws should be stricter, just 14.2% of students said that someone in their household owns firearms.

The poll also asked students about their sexual and romantic orientations, finding that just 64.7% of students identify as heterosexual, while 5.2% said they were homosexual, 17.4% said they were bisexual, 7.9% identified as queer, and 5.2% said pansexual. Another 2.8% said they were asexual, 2.3% said they were demisexual, and 5.7% said they were questioning. 

While the results were not split by men and women, last year’s poll found that 86.1% of men identified as heterosexual while just 60% of women identified as heterosexual, with 24.2% saying they were bisexual and 9.4% identifying as queer.

Though most students in the 2023 poll use “he/him/his” and “she/her/hers” pronouns, 5.7% identify with the pronouns “they/them/theirs,” and 0.4% identify with “ze/hir/hirs.” 

Phillips Academy Andover, ranked the best private school in America by Niche, costs more than $66,000 a year for boarding students and over $51,000 for day students. 

The institution’s notable alums include both former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, CEO of Fox Corporation Lachlan Murdoch, actor Humphrey Bogart, venture capitalist and billionaire Tim Draper, John F. Kennedy Jr., and current Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray, among many other powerful members of American society. 


Students from Phillips Academy Andover’s class of 2022 went on to attend Harvard, Georgetown University, Yale, Brown, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Dartmouth, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other high-ranking universities.

Phillips Academy Andover has an extensive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative, which includes “restorative justice training for faculty,” the creation of an “anti-racism task force,” a “Native American land acknowledgment,” and the implementation of a  “bias reporting system.” The academy also has a gender studies program called the Brace Center for Gender Studies, which seeks to “advance the institutional efforts towards intersectional gender equity and inclusion.”

“Andover teaches students how to think critically about the world and the challenges they will encounter,” Chief Communications Officer Tracy Sweet told The Daily Wire. “We do not teach students what to think.”

The institution is affiliated with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), which has pushed gender identity ideology and critical race theory at its conferences.

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