Approval of U.S. Supreme Court down to new low of 40%

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 28): Americans' views of the U.S. Supreme Court have worsened, with 40%, down from 49% in July, saying they approve of the job the high court is doing.

In a Gallup poll released last week, the pollster said this represents by two percentage points, a new low in trend, which dates back to 2000.

The poll was conducted shortly after the Supreme Court declined to block a controversial Texas abortion law.

In August, the court similarly allowed college vaccine mandates to proceed and rejected a Biden administration attempt to extend a federal moratorium on evictions during the pandemic.

The latest tally, from Gallup's annual Governance survey conducted Sept. 1-17, come little more than a year after 58% of Americans approved of the Supreme Court, among the highest readings in the trend.

The previous lows in Gallup's trend include 42% approval in 2005 after the court expanded government's eminent domain power, and again in 2016, after the Supreme Court ruled colleges could continue to consider using race as a factor in admissions, a decision most Americans opposed.

In 2013, 43% approved of the Supreme Court after it issued rulings that expanded the rights of same-sex couples and weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Now, a majority of 53% disapproves of the job the Supreme Court is doing, exceeding the prior high disapproval of 52% from 2016.

Gallup said the plurality of Americans have consistently viewed the court as being "about right" ideologically, and that continues today, with 40% describing it that way.

However, perhaps reflecting changes in the composition of the court or its recent decisions, a new high of 37%, up from 32% a year ago, consider the current Supreme Court "too conservative."

The previous highs in perceptions that the high court was too conservative were 33% in 2019 and 32% in 2007 and 2020, all under Republican presidents.

Meanwhile, 20% describe the court as "too liberal." That is similar to the 23% rating it this way a year ago, but lower than the high points of 32% and 37% recorded when Barack Obama was president.

Compared with readings last year and earlier this year, Republicans, Democrats and independents are all less likely to say they approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and to say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the federal judiciary.

Gallup added that in recent weeks, three Supreme Court justices -- Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer -- have made public speeches defending the court and its decision-making.

These speeches have come amid pressure from some Democrats to expand court membership, presumably to add more liberal-leaning justices.

Implications

Americans' opinions of the Supreme Court are now the worst Gallup has measured in its polling on the institution over the past two-plus decades.

At this point, less than a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents approve of the job the court is doing.

Barely half of Democrats and independents are confident in it, while confidence is slightly higher among Republicans.