Americans Don’t Want GOP Frontrunners Making Court Appointment

| Tom Jensen

A new national Public Policy Polling survey finds Americans want President Obama to be able to appoint Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court- and they really don’t want any of the Republican front runners for President making the call.

Key findings from the survey include:

-Only 33% of voters trust Ted Cruz to nominate the new Supreme Court justice (57% don’t), only 31% trust Donald Trump to (62% don’t), and just 26% trust Marco Rubio to (61% don’t). Independent voters in particular have little faith in the GOP hopefuls to nominate a Supreme Court justice- 61% don’t trust Trump to, and 58% don’t trust either Cruz or Rubio to. One particularly brutal finding for Rubio on this poll is that even among Republicans there are more (45%) who don’t trust him to make that appointment than do (41%) trust him.

-Reflecting what other national polling has found, 56% of voters in the country want the vacant seat on the Supreme Court seat to be filled this year by a nominee of President Obama’s, to only 40% of voters who think the seat should remain vacant for the next year. That includes 53/41 support from independents for filling the seat this year. Voters especially think that the Senate should at least see who President Obama puts forward before making a decision- 66% think Obama’s nominee should be given a chance to only 25% who believe the Senate should just refuse to confirm someone no matter who it is. Even Republican voters, 53/37, think the Senate should be open to Obama’s nominee rather than reflexively dismissive.

-This continues to look like an issue that has the potential to hurt Senate Republicans nationally this year. By a 19 point margin voters say they’re less likely to vote for a Senator who refuses to consider a nominee to the Supreme Court this year, with only 31% saying they’re more likely to vote for someone who takes that stance compared to 50% who say they’re less likely to. Independents would vote against a Senator with that position by a 16 point spread. This issue is just reinforcing the already awful brand of Senate Republicans nationally. Just 10% of voters in the country approve of the job Mitch McConnell is doing, to 59% who disapprove. His unpopularity is a liability for members of his caucus hoping to be reelected this year, and the approach he’s taking on this issue is just making the problem worse.

-Americans have so little faith in Donald Trump to make a decision of this magnitude that they would prefer a celebrity do it. By a 47/35 spread they would prefer Tom Hanks make the Supreme Court choice, and 45/35 they’d prefer Peyton Manning do it. The news isn’t all bad for Trump on that front though- he does manage to tie Taylor Swift 40/40 on the question of who’s more qualified to put forward a Supreme Court nominee, and he even edges out Mickey Mouse by a narrow 43/39 spread. It may not be much, but it’s a lot better than his 9 to 13 point deficit against Hillary Clinton in this week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal and ABC/Washington Post polls.

Full results here


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