A majority of the nation’s Republicans believe that colleges and universities are having a negative influence on the direction of America, according to a new national Pew Research poll.. A sizable majority of Republicans in America believe that colleges and universities are having a negative impact on the country, according to a new national Pew Research Center poll. “While a majority of the public (55 percent) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views,” Pew found. A majority of Republican and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45 percent last year. Sixty-five percent of conservative Republicans believe colleges are having a negative impact, compared with 43 percent for moderate and liberal Republicans. By contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters are split down the middle on whether news media have a positive or negative impact on the country. By contrast, just 39 percent had a positive view of banks and financial institutions, compared to 46 percent believing they have a negative impact on the country. President Trump chose to give a commencement speech at Liberty University in Virginia, whose president Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr., supported him in the presidential race.