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April 1, 2003

Poll: Sacramento Split over Affirmative Action and Racial Data

(Embargoed until 12:01 a.m., Tuesday April 1)

One in Two Sacramento Residents Supports Affirmative Action in the United States

Four out of ten residents in the Sacramento region (40%) think it is time to end affirmative action laws or policies in the United States, while over half (52%) do not think so. These are the results from The 2003 Annual Survey of Public Opinion and Life Quality in the Sacramento Region, conducted February15 through March 13, 2003 by the Institute for Social Research, California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).

Attitudes toward affirmative action vary widely along gender, racial, education, political party affiliation, and county lines in the Sacramento region. Residents in Placer and El Dorado counties (49% and 47%, respectively) are much more likely than residents in Yolo County (38%) and Sacramento County (37%) to think that affirmative action should end.

A majority of Republican voters (60%) think it is time to end affirmative action policies in the United States, while an equal portion of Democrats (63%) holds the opposite view.

Most women (57%) and those with college degrees (57%) are more likely to approve of continuing affirmative action in the United States, compared to men (45%) and those without college degrees (47%).

Democratic voters and nonwhites show the strongest support for affirmative action. Sixty-three percent of Democratic voters and 59% of nonwhites do not think it is time yet to end affirmative policies or laws in the United States.


“In general, do you think it is time to end affirmative action laws
or policies in the United States?”

Comparison among the Four Counties

Sacramento Region
Sacramento County
Yolo
County
Placer
County
El Dorado
County
Yes
40%
37%
38%
49%
47%
No
52
53
53
45
50
Don’t Know
8
10
9
6
3

Comparison among Registered Voters of Different Political Party Affiliations

Republicans
Democrats
Other Voters
Yes
60%
28%
35%
No
36
63
52
Don’t Know
4
9
13


Comparison between Males and Females

Male
Female
Yes
48%
33%
No
45
57
Don’t Know
7
10


Comparison between Those without College Degrees and Those with College Degrees

Those without College Degrees
Those with College Degrees
Yes
43%
36%
No
47
57
Don’t Know
10
6


Comparison between Non-Hispanic White and Other Racial Groups

Non-Hispanic White
(White)
Other Racial Groups
(Nonwhite)
Yes
44%
32%
No
48
59
Don’t Know
8
9

One in Two Sacramento Residents Opposes Data Collection on Race and Ethnicity by California State Government, with Strongest Opposition among Those Who Oppose Affirmative Action

While 52% of Sacramento area residents support continuation of affirmative action laws or policies in the United States, the same percentage (52%) thinks it is time to end data collection on race and ethnicity by California state government agencies.

The Sacramento region is divided along county lines regarding this issue. Sixty three percent of Placer County residents, over half of residents in El Dorado and Sacramento counties (53% and 51%, respectively), and 40% of Yolo County residents think such data collection should end.

Attitudes toward this issue also differ by education status. Those without college degrees (55%) are more likely than those with college degrees (47%) to disapprove of such data collection practices by state government agencies.

This issue is split along political party lines as well. Republicans (55%) and third party voters (56%) are more likely than Democrats (46%) to think it is time to end such data collection in California. Democrats themselves are evenly divided in their opinions, with 46% thinking it is time to end such data collection and 45% holding the opposite view.

Men (55%) and non-Hispanic white (53%) are more likely than women (50%) and other racial groups (48%) to oppose such data collection.

Opposition to state government collection of data on race and ethnicity is strongest among those who oppose affirmative action policies in the United States, with 71% thinking it is time for California State government agencies to end such data collection. Those who support affirmative action show the strongest support for continuing this data collection in California, with 53% saying it is not time yet to end such practices by state government agencies.


“In general, do you think it is time to end the collection of data
on race and ethnicity by California State government agencies?”

Comparison among the Four Counties

Sacramento Region
Sacramento County
Yolo County
Placer
County
El Dorado
County
Yes
52%
51%
40%
63%
53%
No
39
40
45
31
39
Don’t Know
9
9
15
6
8

Comparison between Those without College Degrees and Those with College Degrees

Those without College Degrees
Those with College Degrees
Yes
55%
47%
No
36
45
Don’t Know
9
8

 


Comparison among Registered Voters of Different Political Party Affiliations

Republicans
Democrats
Other Voters
Yes
55%
46%
56%
No
37
45
33
Don’t Know
8
9
11


Comparison between Males and Females

Male
Female
Yes
55%
50%
No
37
41
Don’t Know
8
9


Comparison between Non-Hispanic White and Other Racial Groups

Non-Hispanic White
(White)
Other Racial Groups (Nonwhite)
Yes
53%
48%
No
38
42
Don’t Know
9
10


Comparison among Those Who Support Affirmative Action and Those Who Oppose It

Oppose
Affirmative Action
Support
Affirmative Action
Don't
Know
Yes (Oppose data collection)
71%
37%
48%
No (Support data collection)
24
53
27
Don’t Know
5
10
25

Survey Methods

The above results are based on computer-assisted telephone surveys of 996 randomly selected adult residents age 18 or over in the Sacramento region. The objective of The 2003 Annual Survey of Public Opinion and Life Quality in the Sacramento Region is to assess the opinions of people in the Sacramento region regarding a wide range of local and national issues. While other surveys have examined the state and the Central Valley (from Bakersfield to Redding), this is the first comprehensive regional survey designed to focus on residents in the Sacramento region, which includes Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, and El Dorado counties.

More than 30 students conducted the interviews in English and Spanish, from February 15 to March 13, 2003, at the Institute for Social Research, California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). The sample is representative of the four counties in the Sacramento region, and comparable to the 2000 U.S. Census (68% residents in the Census vs. 67% in the sample in Sacramento County, 14% in the Census vs.16% in the sample in Placer County, 9% in the Census vs. 9% in the sample in Yolo County; and 9% in the Census vs. 8% in the sample in El Dorado County). The margin of error for the survey is approximately ± 3% at the 95% confidence level.

The College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies (SSIS) and the Office of Community Collaboration (OCC) at CSUS sponsored this project. Dr. Joseph Sheley, Dean of SSIS, and Dr. Manuel Barajas are actively involved in this project and have made great contributions.

This research is directed by Amy Qiaoming Liu, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Institute for Social Research, California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Liu is an expert in public opinion polls, and has conducted over 20 surveys in the past eight years, including:

  • 2002 Survey of Public Opinion and Life Quality in the Sacramento Region
  • Survey of Iowa Business about Eldercare and Eldercare Needs
  • Story County Conservation Board Survey
  • Fort Dodge Public Library Citizen Survey
  • Grundy County Youth Needs Assessment
  • Marshalltown United Way Survey

Direct all correspondence to Dr. Amy Q. Liu, Department of Sociology, California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J. Street, Sacramento CA 95819-6005; 916-278-7572 (phone); 916-278-6281 (fax); liuqa@csus.edu (e-mail). Please visit our web site (www.csus.edu/ssis/) for other reports on The 2003 Annual Survey and the full report, as well as the executive summary of The 2002 Annual Survey.

####

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