National Poll Shows Majority Believes Affirmative Action in Higher Education Is Essential, Must Be Protected by the Supreme Court

Education News 09.26.22

Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference Education Fund today released the results of a national survey exploring people’s opinions on affirmative action, diversity, and opportunity in higher education. The survey, commissioned by The Education Fund and conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, found that a majority of people in America believe that diverse college and university campuses are beneficial to students, college admissions should take into account a student’s whole story, and the U.S. Supreme Court must protect affirmative action. Key findings include:

  • 87% of respondents believe all students, no matter their race or background, benefit from college campuses that reflect the diversity of who we are as Americans.
  • 76% of respondents believe college admissions should take into consideration the lived experiences and the whole story of a student, in addition to high school grades and test scores.
  • 69% believe affirmative action helps create diverse campuses, which benefit all of us
  • 64% of respondents believe affirmative action helps level the playing field and gives all students, regardless of their race or background, a fair shot at attending college.
  • 54% of respondents believe it is important that the Supreme Court protects affirmative action, including 32% who believe it is very important.

These data were released as the Supreme Court prepares for its next session where it will hear challenges to the longstanding precedent supporting affirmative action. Read the full report here.

Methodology: The nationwide poll was conducted September 9-12, 2022, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago, on behalf of The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,003 adults. The margin of error is +/- 3.97 percentage points. For more information, email [email protected] or visit

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal and state policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit