Survey Shows Strong Support for DEI

There’s a big new survey (from Post-Ipsos) on American attitudes toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. Itโ€™s worth reading the full article in the Washington Post.

The main takeaway: ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ž๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž.

And, importantly, specific DEI programs get even higher support (framing matters!).ย  E.g., 69% support “programs to hire more employees from groups that are underrepresented in their workforce, such as racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities, to promote equity in the workplace.”

We often see this polling pattern on progressive issues. People may feel uneasy about general equality and well-being policies (which could sound like having a Scandinavian-style welfare state), but respond much better to specific questions like, “Should everyone have health insurance?”

In a broadly positive poll, the most negative number is that 34% of white people say DEI hurts white people as a group. And yet, ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’% ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐จ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐จ๐ง๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ ๐ƒ๐„๐ˆ ๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ. Thatโ€™s really low given the negative attention and all the noise about anti-ESG, anti-woke, and so on.

Of course there’s a big split by political party: even with the more specific framing, just under a majority (49%) of Republicans supported it vs. 91% of Dems.

Some companies with a largely Republican customer base may decide to abandon DEI, like the Fortune 500 Tractor Supply Company, which just announced it would “eliminate DEI roles and retire our current DEI goals.” (It also, less logically, rescinded its carbon reduction goals which would almost certainly lower costs – more on this later).

But most companies, especially those with broad geographic and demographic customer bases, ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ž ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐จ๐ฅ๐๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ž๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ.

Beyond poll numbers, DEI is the right thing to do, and it’s good business. Pursuing diversity was never about appeasing progressives. No, it’s an acknowledgment of the advantages of diversity in thought and representation and an understanding that the world IS more diverse. In the U.S., the under-20 crowd is now majority non-white.

So good luck appealing to younger employees and consumers without a commitment to DEI.

[See discussion of a shorter version of this article on LinkedIn]

[Image originally from Bing AI, with some inexpert editing from me]

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