A new poll from Washington Post-ABC News released on June 11 shows a full 76 percent of Americans now oppose race-based affirmative action in deciding college admissions. The poll included a random sample of 1,007 adults and results span racial and partisan lines. According to the poll: Nearly eight in 10 whites and African Americans and almost seven in 10 Hispanics oppose allowing universities to use race as a factor. And although Democrats are more supportive than Republicans of the practice, at least two-thirds of Democrats, Republicans and independents oppose it. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found support for broader affirmative action programs—not specifically in college admissions—at a historic low. About 45 percent said the programs are a good idea, while the same number said they have gone too far and now discriminate against whitesThe Washington Post poll also found that about 57 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage and 63 percent support allowing legally married same-sex couples equal benefits to other married couples. These public opinion figures come on the eve of historic upcoming Supreme Court decisions on both affirmative action and same-sex marriage.But universities may have a different perspective than most Americans. In a court brief for Fisher v. Texas, University of California Berkley said “student body diversity cannot be fully realized at selective institutions without taking race into account,” as reported by the New York Times. UNC Chapel Hill has also submitted a court brief in support of the University of Texas in the Fisher case as well.
Emma Foehringer Merchant is a summer 2013 editorial intern.