A Deceptive Poll

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week highlighted a new poll which allegedly shows that California’s Asian Americans support affirmative action. Note that the question used in the poll was: “Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs designed to help blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education?”


The wording states that affirmative action will “help…other minorities get better jobs and education.” Are Asians “other minorities.” Do the Asian American respondents support affirmative action that will “help them get better jobs and education”? The truth is that race-based affirmative action hurts Asian Americans’ efforts to get better jobs and education through policies that impose quotas and higher standards.


The people who conducted this misleading poll concluded that the majority of Asian Americans support affirmative action — and thus racial preferences. They insist that it was merely an intensely motivated minority of Asian Americans who derailed SCA-5, an attempt to reinstitute racial policies in California that failed earlier this year.


The truth is far more likely that Asian Americans are fine with programs that are described as helping people get better jobs and education but are intensely opposed to programs that discriminate against them or others. Suppose the question was asked, “Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs designed to help some minorities get better jobs and education by discriminating against whites, Asians, and other ethnicities?”


The poll is designed to extol the alleged benefits of race preference programs while deliberately concealing the costs. It is like asking, “Do you favor programs that lower the cost of college education” without telling poll participants that such a program would raise their taxes or cost them in some other way.


The pollsters came to wrong conclusions because they failed to consider the most important questions on the minds of Asian Americans. Are these programs fair? Who are the designated losers? And what are the consequences?


- Jennifer Gratz