Poll: Affirmative action support hits rock bottom

Poll: Affirmative action support hits rock bottom

As the Supreme Court prepares to once again weigh in on the issue of affirmative action, a record-low number of Americans support such programs, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just 45 percent of respondents said they believe affirmative action programs are still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities, while an equal 45 percent feel the programs have gone too far and should be ended because they unfairly discriminate against whites.

(The poll was conducted May 30-June 2 and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.)

The number of Americans supporting affirmative action has been in decline over the past two decades, down from a high of 61 percent in its favor in 1991.

Reasons for the trend range from the idea of “diversity fatigue” to what others believe is the effect of an African-American being elected president, as well as 20 years of anti-affirmative-action campaigns.

“Right now, I feel like it’s reverse discrimination,” said one poll respondent, a white, 69-year-old retired teacher from Rhode Island, who was interviewed for this story and did not wish to be identified. “I did support it at first, but, gradually, because of this reverse discrimination it’s gone too far.”

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