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.
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