Only 28% of Likely Voters Rate the Supreme Court as “Excellent” or “Good”

March 18th, 2012

From Rasmussen:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 28% give the Supreme Court good or excellent ratings. Nineteen percent (19%) rate the highest court in the land as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

So how does this cut? Do conservatives think the Court is too liberal, or do liberals think the Court is too conservative?

Voters from all party affiliations give the Supreme Court similar ratings, but Democrats and unaffiliated voters give slightly higher negatives than Republicans do.

Overall, 33% believe that the Supreme Court is too politically liberal, while 28% say it is too conservative. Nearly as many (25%) say the ideological balance is about right. Another 14% are undecided. Most GOP voters (56%) think the court is too liberal. Most Democrats (54%) say it’s too conservative. Unaffiliateds are more narrowly divided.

A plurality of all voters (43%) believes the two justices nominated by President Obama are too liberal, showing little change over the past few months. Only seven percent (7%) regard Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kegan as too conservative, while 36% say their ideologies are about right. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of politically moderate voters and 65% of liberal voters believe the ideologies of both justices are about right, while most conservatives (75%) believe they are too liberal.

A majority (53%) favor repeal of the ACA.

Update: Ilya Somin opines:

However, the overwhelming public support for striking down the mandate does suggest that if a majority of the Court wants to invalidate this law, they probably won’t be prevented from doing so by fear of a political backlash. Usually, the Court hesitates to strike down major legislation strongly supported by the president and his party because doing so could result in a political confrontation that the Court is likey to lose, as happened during the New Deal period. In this case, however, strong public opposition to the mandate – along with extensive opposition in Congress – insulate the Court from any such backlash. The situation is in sharp contrast to what happened in the 1930s, when many of the laws struck down by the Court had broad bipartisan support.

The situation is also different from what happened after the Citizens United decision in 2010, the most recent Supreme Court ruling that generated extensive public opposition. In that case, The Court endorsed a result contrary to majority opinion, though I believe it was a correct one.

In fact, the Court could well generate greater public anger if it upholds the mandate than if it strikes it down. Many more people want the law struck down than want the Court to uphold it. As the case of Kelo v. New London dramatically demonstrates, public outrage can be stimulated by a decision upholding an unpopular law just as readily as one striking down a popular one.