New Poll Shows Americans Overwhelmingly Support a Hearing and Vote on Merrick Garland’s Nomination
It has been more than 50 days since President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and the Senate’s obstruction of his confirmation process continues. Nearly three months after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans continue to play politics with the vacancy. But a new CAP and GBA Strategies poll, released today, shows that an overwhelming majority of American voters support a hearing and a vote on Garland’s nomination. And Americans don’t just support a confirmation hearing, they also view Republican senators who oppose a hearing more unfavorably and are motivated by the prospect of 4-4 decisions negatively affecting issues they care about. The poll was conducted nationally, as well as in Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- A majority of voters—both Democrats and Republicans—want the Senate to hold hearings and an up-or-down confirmation vote for Garland. By a 69 percent to 27 percent margin, voters nationally overwhelmingly think the Senate should move forward with hearings and an up-or-down vote for Garland. This includes 79 percent of self-identified Democrats; 67 percent of independents; 59 percent of Republicans; and 55 percent of self-identified conservatives/libertarians.
- By a 2-1 margin, voters say they will look less favorably upon lawmakers who refuse to support hearings and a vote for Garland. By a 43 percent to 20 percent margin, voters nationally say they would view an elected official from their state less favorably if that official refused to support hearings and a vote on Judge Garland’s nomination. Thirty-four percent of voters nationally say it would make no difference in their opinions. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents say they would view an elected official less favorably for refusing to hold hearings and a confirmation vote.
- The prospect that a 4-4 split on the Supreme Court could threaten issues of importance to voters motivates people to get more involved in the nomination process. When asked to choose which two priorities matter most to them in terms of issues before the Court, voters nationally are focused on a number of issues, including “immigration” (30 percent, top two), “health care” (28 percent, top two), “civil rights and voting rights” (26 percent, top two), and “money in politics” (23 percent, top two).
With issues ranging from affirmative action to access to contraception to immigration, more than 100 million people could be affected by this Supreme Court term. Too much is at risk to force the Supreme Court to operate below its full capacity. See the full breakdown of the poll along with more detailed state breakdowns here.
BOTTOM LINE: The Constitution doesn’t make exceptions for election years and neither should the Senate. This polling confirms that the American people know the stakes are too high to play politics with the Supreme Court.
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