A survey of entering college freshmen conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California—Los Angeles has long provided a glimpse of the opinions of the next generation. Support for legal abortion increased slightly from the freshmen entering in the fall 2000 to those entering in the fall of 2003 (53.9% to 54.5%). Opinions of male and female students were very similar on this issue. Support for abolishing the death penalty also grew slightly, from 2000 to 2003 (31.2% to 32.6%). In 2003 males and females were split 28.8% to 35.8% on the issue of abolishing the death penalty.
Raising a family was considered essential or very important to 75.8% of 2003 freshmen, with females rating this higher than males by just two percentage points. Being well off financially was the next most important objective for 75.4% of male freshmen and 72.5% of females.