Posted on July 7, 2023

Who’s Okay With the Affirmative Action Decision? Many Black Americans.

Aaron Blake, Washington Post, July 6, 2023

On Wednesday, I wrote about how the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, despite heavy criticisms from Democrats, seemed unlikely to spark a significant backlash — certainly not on the scale of the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last year. On the contrary, perhaps the court’s most momentous decision this year — severely restricting the use of affirmative action in college admissions — was arguably quite popular.


The data, from an Economist/YouGov poll conducted after the Supreme Court’s decision, shows Americans approving of it more than 2-to-1. That’s a finding in line with surveys conducted before the decision, including from The Washington Post and CBS News, which showed more than 6 in 10 Americans supported the idea of banning the use of race and ethnicity in admissions. Another poll conducted after the decision, for ABC News, showed Americans approved of it by a 20-point margin.

What’s particularly striking about the Economist/YouGov poll is how Black Americans responded. Indeed, more of them actually approved of the decision (more than 4 in 10) than disapproved (fewer than 4 in 10). And more Black Americans “strongly” approved (31 percent) than disapproved (26 percent).

This finding is also in line with previous polling. While polls have long shown Black Americans in favor of affirmative action, The Washington Post-Schar School poll showed nearly half (47 percent) supported banning the use of race and ethnicity in admissions.


The YouGov poll also asked people whether they felt affirmative action had had an impact on them. Just 19 percent of Black Americans felt that it had, and just 11 percent of those who felt that way said it had affected them “positively.”

This is something that also shows up in the older Pew polling.


Just 20 percent of Black Americans said they felt such policies had put them at an advantage. And strikingly, significantly more — 35 percent — actually said they felt such policies had put them at a disadvantage.

This was more than any other racial group tested.