Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Affirmative Action Crushed at the Polls? Clueless California Leftists Struggle to Figure Out What Went Wrong

Oh brother. 

In 2006, Proposition 209 passed 55 percent to 45 percent (a 10-point) margin. It banned racial preferences in the state.

In 2020, Proposition 16, which would have restored affirmative action in California, was defeated 57 percent to 43 percent (a 14-point margin). 

In 1990, ethnic whites were 60 percent of the state's population. In 2020, ethnic whites are 40 percent of the population. Hispanics now comprise more than 40 percent of the state's population, and we have a "majority-minority" demographic.

And Democrats still couldn't get race quotas approved by the voters? Maybe the problem's the Democrat Party and not the voters. Even in the bluest of states, race-neutral public policies command huge support. I mean Proposition 20, the left's "defund the police" and "abolish prisons" initiative was shot down by a whopping 62 percent to 38 percent, a 24-point margin). 

So, racial justice reform in California isn't going anywhere for now. Good thing, sheesh. 

At the Los Angeles Times, "Failure to bridge divides of age, race doomed affirmative action proposition":

Widespread skepticism in Latino and Asian communities and tepid support among younger Black residents combined with opposition from most whites to doom the effort this year to revive affirmative action in California, according to a new postelection survey.

The failure of Proposition 16, which voters rejected by 57% to 43%, marked a significant defeat for the state’s Democratic political leadership and many activist groups, which backed the Legislature’s move to put the proposal on this year’s ballot.

The findings of the survey provide the clearest evidence so far of the disconnect between those political leaders and many of their ostensible followers on an issue that has been a touchstone in the state’s political debates for years.

The survey, conducted by a coalition of community organizations, shows widespread support across racial and ethnic lines for diversity in education, public employment and contracting. At the same time, it showed broad skepticism about allowing government officials to use race, ethnicity or gender in making decisions.

On two other topics, the survey showed how attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic have grown more politically divided as the state heads into a period of renewed restrictions designed to limit the spread of the disease.

And it indicated that awareness and concern about racial and ethnic discrimination in the state has receded since reaching a high point this summer.

Asked how often they personally felt discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity, about one-third of Latino respondents said they experienced discrimination “frequently” or “sometimes.” That’s down from nearly half when the poll asked the same question in July.

The finding “reaffirms that these issues are difficult and complicated, and people just don’t have the bandwidth” to focus constantly on discrimination, especially when the impact of COVID dominates so many peoples’ lives, said Helen Torres, executive director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), one of the sponsors of the survey.

“It’s hard to sustain for the long term,” she said.

The share of Asian and Pacific Islander respondents who reported feeling discriminated against showed a similar decline since July. The share of Black respondents who reported feeling discriminated against did not significantly decline.

The California Community Poll, conducted online Nov. 4-15, was designed to provide a more detailed view of the state’s racial and ethnic diversity than is typically possible. It surveyed 1,300 adult California citizens, with over-samples of Black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander respondents in order to ensure enough in each group to allow analysis by age, gender and other characteristics.

The margin of error is estimated at 2.7 percentage points for the full sample. The poll is sponsored by three community organizations — the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), the Los Angeles Urban League and HOPE.

California banned most government affirmative action programs nearly a quarter century ago, in 1996, when voters approved Proposition 209. Since then, overturning the ban has been a major goal for many Democratic lawmakers and state officials, especially at the University of California, where deans and chancellors have repeatedly said that their inability to take race into account in admissions has kept the number of Latino and Black students well below their share of high school graduates who meet UC eligibility standards.

But as the poll showed, many Californians have more mixed feelings on the subject than their elected officials do.

The results show “a limit on California’s liberalism” that “requires some examination of the progressive base,” said Drew Lieberman, senior vice president of Strategies 360, the polling firm that conducted the survey.

Two-thirds of the California adults surveyed said they believe “diverse representation based on race, gender, ethnicity and national origin” is important, with about 4 in 10 calling it “very important.”

That’s true across major ethnic and racial groups and among both voters and nonvoters, the survey found. About 6 in 10 white respondents said they considered diversity important, along with about 7 in 10 who identify as Latino or Asian or Pacific Islanders. Among Black respondents, the share rose to more than 8 in 10.

But that didn’t translate into support for affirmative action. Among Latino respondents, for example, only 30% said Proposition 16 was a good idea, compared with 41% who called it a bad idea and 29% who said they were unsure. The division was similar among Asian and Pacific Islander respondents, with 35% calling the proposition a good idea, 46% saying it was a bad idea and 20% unsure.

White respondents were slightly more opposed, with 32% calling the measure a good idea, 53% a bad idea and 15% unsure.

Only among Black respondents did the proposition get majority support, with 56% calling it a good idea, 19% a bad idea and 25% unsure.

The views of voters and nonvoters were very similar, suggesting that higher turnout would probably not have changed the results.

Roughly a third of those polled could be characterized as solid supporters of affirmative action — people who said that diversity is important and the ballot measure was a good idea. On the other side, just over 1 in 5 say diversity is not important to them and that the ballot measure was a bad idea.

Another 1 in 5 say diversity is important but that the proposal was a bad idea. The members of that swing group are more likely than others to describe themselves as moderates and to be suburbanites.

Since the election, some supporters of the ballot measure have speculated that voters may have been confused about its potential impact. The survey does not support that. After asking people their opinion, the survey gave a more extensive description of the ballot measure and retested people’s feelings on it. The additional information did not significantly change people’s views.
Still more.