A plurality of the public thinks the Senate should vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice, according to a newly released HuffPost/YouGov poll, although many say they’ve paid relatively little attention to the process.
Americans say by a 17-percentage-point margin, 40 percent to 23 percent, that Gorsuch, the federal appeals judge nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia, should be confirmed. An additional 37 percent aren’t sure. (A poll taken after Gorsuch’s nomination was first announced in February found that Americans favored confirmation by a similar 15-point margin, 43 percent to 28 percent, with 29 percent undecided.)
That resistance so far has largely failed to materialize. While health care tops the list of Americans’ biggest concerns, recent polling suggests, the Supreme Court currently lags near the bottom ― and while Hillary Clinton voters in the presidential election rallied strongly against the health care bill, which Trump voters supported only tepidly, the intensity gap seems to be reversed when it comes to Gorsuch’s confirmation.
Voters who supported Trump are overwhelmingly aligned in favor of Gorsuch: 87 percent think the Senate should confirm him, and just 3 percent say that it shouldn’t. In contrast, while most Clinton voters oppose the nomination, they do so less strongly. Fifty-four percent don’t want the Senate to vote to confirm Gorsuch, but 17 percent say that it should, and 29 percent say that they aren’t sure.
Those Americans who do have opinions on the confirmation tend to feel strongly about their position. Nearly identical percentages ― 84 percent of those who favor his confirmation and 83 percent of those who oppose it ― say that the issue is at least somewhat important to them, with 52 and 53 percent, respectively, calling it very important.
The survey’s results also drive home the degree to which the Supreme Court confirmation hearings were drowned out by news events that included congressional hearings about Russia’s role in the 2016 elections and a high-profile health care fight in the House. Less than half of the public reports following the confirmation hearings even somewhat closely, with just 14 percent saying they’ve followed the proceedings very closely.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted March 22-23 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.