With the Supreme Court headed for some major decisions next month, we decided to take our first ever look at what Americans think about the body as a whole and each of its members individually. Here's what we found:
-Americans overall have a negative opinion of the Supreme Court- 42% see it unfavorably, with just 33% holding a positive opinion. Democrats have a narrowly positive opinion of it (39/37) while both Republicans (29/44) and independents (31/46) have pretty unfavorable views.
-Only 29% of Americans think the Supreme Court is ideologically 'about right' with 36% believing it's too liberal and 30% that it's too conservative. Voters in both parties think the Court is stacked to the other side- 59% of Republicans think the Court is too liberal to 26% who think it's about right, and 49% of Democrats think it's too conservative to 33% who think it's about right.
-There's a wide range in how well known the various members of the Supreme Court are to the public. Sonia Sotomayor is the best known with 74% name recognition, followed by Clarence Thomas at 68%, Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 64%, Antonin Scalia at 58%, Elena Kagan at 55%, John Roberts at 48%, Samuel Alito at 47%, Anthony Kennedy at 41%, and Stephen Breyer at 35%.
-Even though he's one of the least well known justices, Kennedy has the best net favorability of them all at +9 (25/16). That's because he's the only one who's seen positively by both Democrats (29/16) and Republicans (21/14).
-The more conservative members of the Court tend to also be the ones less popular with the public. Chief Justice John Roberts has the worst net favorability rating at -8 (20/28) largely because Republicans only narrowly like him following the Obamacare decision (22/21) while Democrats still have a pretty negative opinion of him (16/36). Samuel Alito (23/24), Antonin Scalia (27/31), and Clarence Thomas (31/37) all have negative marks as well, in each case because Democrats dislike them to a greater extent than Republicans see them in a positive light.
-Sotomayor's favorability with Hispanics is 62/19, while Thomas' with African Americans is 22/52.
Full results here