Americans Divided on Supreme Court Rulings: Poll

A new survey finds the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action was the only one of its major decisions last week that enjoys the support of a majority of the American public.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin
The Supreme Court on June 27, 2023. AP/Jacquelyn Martin

After a week of major decisions at the Supreme Court, a post-term survey finds that members of the American public are divided in their opinions on major decisions concerning affirmative action, student loan forgiveness, and the right of business owners to deny services based on sexual orientation.

An NBC News and Ipsos survey conducted on June 30 and July 1 found that the majority of respondents backed the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict “the use of race as a factor in college admissions,” with 52 percent approving of the decision and 32 percent disapproving.

Respondents were more divided over the court striking down the student loan forgiveness program, with 45 percent of respondents approving of the decision compared to 40 percent who disapproved.

On the decision to allow a website designer to turn down work for a same-sex couple, 43 percent of respondents reported approving of the decision compared to 42 percent who disapproved.

The poll of 937 American adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 points, meaning only the decision on the website designer was within that window.

On the question of overturning affirmative action, opinions varied by race and ethnicity, with 60 percent of white respondents and 58 percent of Asian respondents approving of the decision.

Latino and Hispanic Americans were evenly split on the question, with 40 percent of respondents approving and 40 percent of respondents disapproving of the decision. Black Americans were the only racial or ethnic group in which a majority, 52 percent, of respondents disapproved.

The pollsters, Chris Jackson and Charlie Rollason, wrote that these opinions reflect views of these different groups concerning which racial and ethnic groups have an advantage or disadvantage getting into college.

Among white Americans, they wrote, most people believe that “people of all racial backgrounds have a fair chance to get into the college of their choice.”

“Compare that to Black Americans, most of whom believe that Black people have an unfair disadvantage,” the pollsters wrote. “Similarly, a significant minority of Latino Americans believes people of their ethnic group have an unfair disadvantage.”

Opinions on the other decisions varied depending on partisanship. On student loans, 71 percent of Republicans approved of the Supreme Court’s decision compared to 17 percent of Democrats. On denying services to same-sex couples, 68 percent of Republicans approved of the decision compared to 15 percent of Democrats.

The survey also found that Americans increasingly feel like the Supreme Court bases its decisions on partisan political views, with 53 percent saying that they feel the court rules mainly on a partisan basis, an increase of 10 points since January 2022.

The New York Sun

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