In a recent display of disconnect from public sentiment, President Joe Biden expressed his vehement disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision to discard race-based affirmative action programs from Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Biden, seemingly implying he represented the collective voice of the nation, referred to the ruling as a “severe disappointment,” echoing the anguished sentiment of the political left.
Yet, it appears that the President and his left-leaning compatriots are out of sync with mainstream America. In a recent poll conducted by ABC News/Ipsos, more than half of the respondents (52%) approve of the SCOTUS decision. This suggests that the so-called “outrage” may be more of a political performance than a reflection of popular opinion. With a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points, only 32% of the surveyed populace disapproved of the decision, with the remaining 16% expressing no opinion.
A closer look at the poll reveals some fascinating demographic details. Support for the ruling transcends political lines, with 75% of Republicans, and 58% of Independents endorsing the decision, though only 26% of Democrats approve. Interestingly, the racial dynamics also challenge the narrative of universal outrage against the ruling. The decision originated from a complaint alleging differential treatment of Asian students, resulting in discrimination. Among those surveyed, 58% of Asians and 60% of Whites approved of the decision, while 25% of Black respondents and 40% of Hispanic respondents were supportive.
These findings are further substantiated by a Pew Research Center poll conducted in the spring. It found a growing disapproval of affirmative action (50%) with only 33% support for it. Respondents also opined that race-based admissions make the admission process less fair (49%), against 20% who believed it enhanced fairness.
Yet, even as the numbers suggest a considerable consensus on the ruling, it was met with harsh criticisms from several black Democrats. Former President Barack Obama and Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia voiced their disappointment. However, their sentiment contrasts sharply with the views of Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is also seeking the GOP nomination for president. Scott vehemently argued against the notion that the color of one’s skin dictates one’s potential for success.
“We will not be judged solely by the color of our skin,” he told Fox News. “That’s what the ruling said today. But that is the story of America. That is a story of American progress, and we can all celebrate that today.”
Scott further stressed the importance of reforming public education and recognizing the value in a diverse range of career paths, reminding us that success isn’t solely defined by an elite university degree. This message resonates with the traditional conservative values of hard work, merit-based reward, and the belief in American opportunity.
In sum, the SCOTUS decision and the public approval it garnered speak volumes about the growing awareness and desire for merit-based equality, transcending the boundaries of identity politics. It is a reminder that the core principles of fairness, opportunity, and meritocracy remain deeply ingrained in the American ethos, irrespective of political and racial divides.