Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

No to Preferential Treatment, Yes to Affirmative Action

By a rather consistent margin for the past 22 years Americans have opposed preferential treatment for minorities. In a 2009 survey just 31% agreed that “we should make every effort to improve the position of blacks and minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment,” while 65% disagreed. Whites are overwhelmingly opposed to the issue (76% disagree), but majorities of both African Americans (58%) and Hispanics (53%) favor preferential treatment to improve conditions for minorities. However, in a 2007 survey, 70% of Americans said they favored “affirmative action programs to help blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education,” including a majority of whites (52%). Support for affirmative action has increased substantially since 1998 when only 58% favored such programs. Read More