In a recent survey of 1,000 American adults 49 percent oppose affirmative action in college admissions.


The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a Michigan law that prohibits the use of race as a determining factor in college admissions. Half of those polled agreed with that decision, and even more think it’s better for colleges and universities to put the emphasis on ability, not race.


Twenty-five percent of American adults who participated in the survey favored applying affirmative action policies to college admissions, unchanged from May of last year. Forty-nine percent were opposed, up from 44 percent in the previous survey. Twenty six percent said they were undecided.


In February 2012, 24 percent of likely U.S. voters polled favored affirmative action programs for college admissions, but 55 percent opposed them.


Sixty percent said they think it is better for higher education in the United States if colleges and universities accept only the most qualified students for admission. Twenty-eight percent disagreed and felt it is better for those schools to make sure there is enough racial diversity in the students they accept. Twelve percent said they weren’t sure.


Forty-seven percent believe affirmative action programs discriminate against white applicants, down six points from last May. Twenty-seven percent disagree, but 26 percent are not sure.


Twenty nine percent of those surveyed favor affirmative action programs in general, while 43 percent oppose such programs and 28 percent are undecided.


Only 12 percent consider affirmative action programs a success, while 26 percent view them as a failure. Fifty-one percent rate them somewhere in between. These findings have changed little over the past year. Views of affirmative action and its success or failure have changed little in surveys since July 2008.