Voters Not Sold On Push To End Affirmative Action—2 Months Before Election, Only 41% Support Proposal

Dawson Bell, WZZM13.com, September 4, 2006

[The Michican Civil Right Intiative announced the “Yes On 2” radio campaign on Tuesday, September 5. To read the announcement and hear a sample ad, see “MCRI starts the “Yes on 2” Radio Campaign.”]


Support for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative—the proposal to prohibit the use of affirmative action in government hiring and contracting and university admissions—remains tentative, the latest Free Press-Local 4 poll shows.

As the campaigns for and against the proposal enter the final two months, the ban was supported by 41% of likely voters, down from 43% in mid-July. Opposition to the ban also fell, from 48% to 43%.

Sixteen percent of voters were undecided in the latest survey, conducted last week by Selzer & Co. Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa. The poll surveyed 803 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Trisha Stein, campaign director for One United Michigan, the coalition of business, labor and religious groups opposed to the MCRI, said the poll results are encouraging.

“We’re pleased to keep it below 50%, and it means that our work on the ground is making a difference,” Stein said Friday.

The proposed amendment had stronger support among men—45%—than among women—37%.

It was favored by 52% of the people who said they were Republicans, but trailed among Democrats—34% in favor and 52% opposed. Independents also rejected the proposal with 37% in favor and 49% opposed.

The MCRI will go before Michigan voters Nov. 7, ending a legal and logistical struggle by its backers that began soon after the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the use of race in admissions decisions at the University of Michigan.

Last week, a federal judge in Detroit dismissed a lawsuit seeking to have the MCRI barred from the ballot because of alleged fraud in the collection of petition signatures. Later in the week, the group By Any Means Necessary, which opposes the initiative, announced it would file an appeal.

But the MCRI campaign, which held two petition drives and has survived numerous lawsuits, does not appear to have aroused keen public interest.

{snip}


Grand Rapids—A group opposed to the ballot proposal to change state hiring practices is once again going to court to challenge its inclusion in this year’s election.

By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) says the Michigan Civil Rights Intiative is wrong from beginning to end.

BAMN attorney Shanta Driver said the name of the proposal is misleading, the process fraudulent, and at least some of its supporters are liars.

Driver announced Tuesday morning that attorneys representing Operation King’s Dream, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others will ask the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to review and reverse a decision late last month by Federal Judge Arthur Tarnow allowing the initiative to stay on the ballot.

“The MCRI, as Judge Tarnow found, was plagued with systematic racially targeted voter fraud,” Driver said. “The people of Michigan were lied to. We don’t think you can lie to the electorate and amend the state constitution.”

A group supporting the measure released a statement calling BAMN an “extreme neo-Communist group.”

State Rep. Leon Drolet, the chairman of the initiative, said, “We are confident that this case will again be dismissed.”

For those in favor of the M.C.R.I. no preferences are preferable.

{snip}

Until now the courts have kept the issue on the ballot and that, of course, pleases backers who say the people should decide.

The ballot language, if allowed to go forward will read as follows:

“A proposal to amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.”

{snip}

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