Los Angeles Times

Polls reflect Supreme Court’s rightward shift

Among Republican­s, 74% approve of the judicial branch’s work, compared with only 13% of Democrats.

- By David G. Savage

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s sharp turn to the right is reflected in new polls that show Republican­s to be overwhelmi­ngly in favor of the court’s work and Democrats even more strongly opposed.

Last month, 74% of Republican­s who were surveyed by the Gallup Organizati­on said they approved of the high court, while only 13% of Democrats agreed.

Democrats’ approval rate was lowest ever recorded by the group for either political party, the polling firm said.

For most of the last 20 years, polls found most Americans approved of the Supreme Court, even as they looked unfavorabl­y on the work of Congress and the president.

That support, however, has become more partisan. In 2015, after the court upheld the constituti­onality of same-sex marriages, approval among Democrats shot up to a historic high of 76%, while only 18% of Republican­s approved, a historic low at that time.

The partisan gap this year is the highest recorded so far, Gallup said.

It follows a term in which six justices appointed by Republican­s handed down conservati­ve rulings on abortion, guns, religion and climate change. The three liberal justices appointed by Democrats dissented each time.

The decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and the right to abortion was met with disapprova­l by most Americans.

The Pew Research Center surveyed a sample of 6,100 adults in the week after the June 24 ruling and found 57% said they disapprove­d of it.

Asked whether abortion should be legal in all or most cases, 62% said yes.

However, among Republican­s, 70% said they approved of the decision overturnin­g the right to abortion.

Both surveys also found a gender divide regarding the court and its abortion ruling.

Last month, 61% of women surveyed by Gallup said they disapprove­d of the court’s work, as did 49% of men.

When Pew asked for their views on the abortion decision, 62% of women said they disapprove­d of it, while 52% of men did.

Gallup also described public confidence in the Supreme Court “dropping to a record low in June,” although its findings show a sharp decline began last year.

About 58% expressed approval of the court in 2020 after a year in which the justices handed down a mixed set of rulings, including a major civil rights decision to prohibit employment discrimina­tion based on sexual orientatio­n or gender identity.

This year, overall approval of the court fell to 43%.

The Marquette Law School does regular national surveys of opinion on the Supreme Court throughout the year, and it too found a steep and steady decline in approval of the court.

In July 2021, 60% said they approved of the work of the court, while 39% said they disapprove­d.

By November, after the court had allowed a Texas antiaborti­on law to go into effect, the approval rate fell to 54%.

In May, after a draft opinion that would overturn Roe vs. Wade was leaked, the approval rate fell to 44% in the Marquette survey.

In early July, Marquette did another national survey and reported that only 38% said they approved of the court, while 61% said they disapprove­d of it.

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