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Survey finds 3 in 4 voters oppose Supreme Court allowing race in college admissions

While Americans can’t agree on practically anything else, they largely agree that race should not play any factor in college admissions.

A survey of voters nationwide by the Marquette Law Poll, a project of the Catholic university’s law school, finds that three in four voters (77 percent) oppose Supreme Court decisions that “[d]ecided colleges can use race as one factor in deciding which applicants to admit.”

The breakout of responses is even more surprising: A full majority are “strongly” opposed (56 percent), while just one in five is “somewhat” opposed (21 percent). Only 4 percent of voters “strongly” favor the use of race in college admissions, and another 11 percent “somewhat” favor it.

The survey was conducted in early September, weeks before U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs upheld the constitutionality of Harvard University’s admissions practices despite mountains of evidence that they discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

Opposition to the Supreme Court’s rulings on affirmative action in college admissions doesn’t extend to widespread mistrust of the institution itself: The court is the most trusted among American institutions by voters, with four in five saying they have at least “some” confidence. The presidency (53 percent) and Congress (50 percent) are far behind.

The poll asked respondents several other questions about Supreme Court decisions, with answers suggesting those polled are not skewed toward conservatives.

For example, a plurality (47 percent) opposed the court’s decision upholding President Trump’s “travel ban against citizens of five Muslim-majority countries,” while a staggering 63 percent opposed the court’s decision in favor of privately held businesses that have “religious objections” to paying for employees’ birth control.

According to the poll’s methodology, the sample of 1,423 respondents “was designed to be representative of the adult population of the United States.” The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, “including design effects due to post-stratification.”

Critics will note that the survey was administered “in English only,” but because it was administered online rather than over the phone, speakers without English proficiency could have translated the questions using free online translators.

Read the topline results and Marquette press release.

IMAGE: Steven Frame/Shutterstock

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