The Gallup poll on college admissions contains a few interesting results.
Gallup reports, “Two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit, even if that results in few minorities being admitted, while 28% believe an applicant’s racial and ethnic background should be taken into account to promote diversity on college campuses. Three-quarters of whites and 59% of Hispanics believe applicants should be judged only on merit, while blacks are divided in their views.”
The term “affirmative action” was first used in the United States in Executive Order 10925 and was signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961; it was used to promote actions that achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take “affirmative action” to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.
Affirmative action has been the subject of numerous court cases, and has been questioned upon its constitutional legitimacy (see, Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 244 – Supreme Court 2003). Gallup notes, “The Supreme Court has heard cases that challenged affirmative action programs in college admissions in recent years. In 2003, it declared unconstitutional the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions process that automatically awarded minority applicants extra “points” in its admissions formula, but upheld the university’s law school admissions process that took race into account more generally when evaluating each individual applicant. This year, it vacated and remanded a lower-court ruling on a challenge to the University of Texas’ admissions program from a white applicant denied admission.”
“There are large partisan differences in support for affirmative action — Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to favor affirmative action programs. Republicans are one of only a few groups that show majority opposition. Whereas there were significant differences by education with regard to college admissions, there are only minor differences with regard to affirmative action programs in general,” states Gallup.