Poll: Americans Against Affirmative Action for College Admissions—Have Been for Decades
In light of the current debate over affirmative action on college campuses, it’s worth looking at what ordinary Americans actually think.
Polling data from Gallup reveals that two-thirds (67 percent) of American adults believe college applications, and admissions, should be color-blind. Students should be admitted on merit alone—even if this results in fewer minorities attending college.
Meanwhile, 28 percent of American adults believe that student’s racial or ethnic background should be considered in the college admissions process, in order to promote diversity on campus.
White Americans are the most likely to favor merit-based college applications: fully three-quarters (75 percent) of white adults are against affirmative action admissions. Hispanics are also in favor of color-blind college admissions by a wide margin (59 percent). Black Americans are more divided—44 percent of black Americans believe college admissions should be on merit alone, while 48 percent believe race should be taken into account.
The polling data did not look at the attitudes of other minority groups, like Asian Americans, who must score significantly higher on entry exams in order to attend college. This is unfortunate, as it gives the illusion that America’s minority populations are generally in favor of affirmative action, when this may only be the case for black Americans.
Opinions also cleave along political lines—which is expected. For example, 87 percent of Republicans are in favor of color-blind college admissions, while only 53 percent of democrats favor them. Independents fall somewhere in between. Another trend worth noting: more educated people tend to favor racial discrimination in college admissions:
Gallup also notes that American views towards merit-based college admissions have remained “quite stable” over the last decade-and-a-half. Gallup polls from the year 2003 and 2007 reveal similar results. This is interesting because it shows that the “culture shift” that’s happened on college campuses recently is a top-down movement—there is no pressing grassroots demand for diversity in college, now or in the recent past.