Fifty-seven percent of Americans ages 18 to 25 are opposed to racial preferences playing a role in college admissions or hiring decisions, according to a recent poll of members of the Millennial Generation.
Only 9 percent of respondents said such programs are appropriate to make up for past discrimination, while 28 percent agreed that they are justified to increase diversity on a college campus or in the workplace, the survey found.
The poll comes a week before the US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a potential landmark case challenging the constitutionality of the use of race in admissions to the University of Texas at Austin.
At issue in that case is whether university officials violated the equal protection rights of a white student when they used race as one of several factors to give an extra boost to black and Latino applicants. University officials said the use of race was justified to boost student diversity.
By targeting respondents ages 18 to 25, the survey explores the views of a cohort of Americans who recently faced college admissions decisions and/or competition for employment.
Despite respondents expressing significant opposition to affirmative action in college admissions, only 15 percent said they believed they were hurt by their race or gender, and 8 percent said they were helped by affirmative action.
Overall, 69 percent of respondents said they were not affected by racial preferences in college admissions, the report says.
The results are part of a broader poll measuring political and social attitudes of the generation referred to as Millennials. The poll was conducted by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs at Georgetown University and the Public Religion Research Institute.
The national survey of 1,214 young adults was conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 10. It carries a 4.3 percent error rate.
When asked generally whether they support or oppose the use of affirmative action to help blacks or other minorities get ahead because of past discrimination, 47 percent of Millennials said they oppose it, while 38 percent supported it.
“The racial differences on this question are striking. Less than one-in-five (19 percent) white Millennials favor programs designed to help blacks and other minorities get ahead because of past discrimination, while nearly two-thirds (66 percent) are opposed,” the report says.
“By contrast, three-quarters (75 percent) of black Millennials and more than six-in-ten (63 percent) Hispanic Millennials favor such programs,” the report says.