Most Americans oppose use of race in admissions: Polls

As the Supreme Court prepares to release its decision on the University of Texas' affirmative-action policy this month, two recent polls show a majority of Americans are against colleges and universities using race as a factor in admissions.

A recent ABC News poll finds 76 percent of Americans think colleges should not consider the race of applicants. The poll did not find major differences in race: 79 percent of white people oppose the use of race in admissions, while 71 percent of nonwhites oppose it (including 78 percent of blacks and 68 percent of Hispanics).

Meanwhile, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from this month finds support for affirmative action at a historic low, with just 45 percent of Americans saying such programs are still needed to counter discrimination against minorities, compared with 61 percent who favored it in 1991.

An equal number of those surveyed said affirmative action has gone too far and discriminates against white people. (The NBC poll differs from the ABC one in that it asked about "affirmative action" generally, instead of the specific instance of colleges considering race in admissions.)

The Supreme Court heard arguments in October that the University of Texas violates the Constitution by using race as one factor in admitting a small percentage of its freshman class. (The majority of students are admitted automatically by graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class.) It's expected to release its decision this month.

The margin of error in the ABC poll is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The NBC/WSJ poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.