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Professor: Indiana U. typifies Midwestern political landscape

IU political science professor Ted Carmines says the school typifies middle-of-the-road Midwestern politics.
IU political science professor Ted Carmines says the school typifies middle-of-the-road Midwestern politics.

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CNN.com's Thom Patterson reports on College Republicans at Indiana University, where many students aren't interested in politics. (February 9)
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BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (CNN) -- When it comes to political views and political activism, Indiana University's Bloomington campus is typical of the large, Midwestern, state universities, according to I.U. political science professor Ted Carmines, a nearly 30-year observer of campus politics.

CNN.com's Thom Patterson sat down with Carmines to discuss the political landscape of the school and why many students are apathetic about politics.

PATTERSON: How would you describe the political leanings of I.U. students now?

CARMINES: The Republicans seem to be quite conservative and the young Democrats are quite liberal. So those are kind of polar opposites from one another. That really only takes in a fairly small number of students. Most of the students, I think, are pretty moderate, middle-of-the-road -- maybe slightly to the right nationally, although in the state they may lean a little to the left.

PATTERSON: Why aren't many students here interested in getting involved in political activism -- or not even interested in voting?

CARMINES: Not many national issues seem to engage them, the war in Iraq a little bit. There is some concern about the economy -- anxiety about that.

PATTERSON: Some Republican students here have complained to me about professors here expressing liberal political views and offering liberal political commentary during class lectures. Is that kind of behavior by professors appropriate?

CARMINES: It would concern me if only one side was presented or if it was brought up in a way that was irrelevant to the course and was somehow thrust upon the students in a way that was inappropriate.

PATTERSON: Is I.U. more conservative now than it was a generation ago?

CARMINES: It's probably more conservative, but that's simply from the fact that I don't think there's any particular issue that has caught the attention of students -- not just here but throughout the country.


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