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Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy$
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Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, and Patrick J. Egan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329414.001.0001

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Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

(p.162) 7 Affirmative Action
Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Loan Le

Jack Citrin

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a description of public opinion leading up to the first major Court decision on affirmative action, the University of California Regents v. Bakke case in 1978, and then tracks trends in public opinion over the next quarter century. It concentrates on assessing the extent to which public opinion moved after major cases were decided in 1978, 1995, and 2003. The main empirical questions are whether the Supreme Court's decisions boosted public support for its positions, how reactions of significant demographic and political groups varied, if at all, and whether shifts in opinion about affirmative action reflected how policies were framed by proponents, critics, and the media. A discussion of the trends in public opinion is followed by a multivariate analysis of the underlying structure of public attitudes.

Keywords:   affirmative action, public support, public opinion, Supreme Court

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