Poll: People Have Never Liked Affirmative Action Less Than They Do Now

By Julianne Hing Jun 11, 2013

At one time, a majority of people in the U.S.–a full 61 percent–supported affirmative action. That day is long gone. Today, support for affirmative action is at record lows, with just 45 percent of people in the U.S. saying that such programs are necessary today, according to a new poll conducted by NBC

Since 1991 when those lofty highs were recorded, support for affirmative action has been on a steady decline. One reason is that affirmative action is a divisive tactic which inspires endless, exhausting debate. The other is that many people think there’s less need for racial remediation programs like affirmative action these days, what with our black president and all. 

But people of different races have differing opinions; 56 percent of whites oppose affirmative action but support among people of color is quite strong. Eighty percent of black respondents support affirmative action, along with 60 percent of Latinos.

The poll comes amidst tense anticipation ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Fisher v. Texas, the latest challenge to race-conscious admissions policies in higher education.