National Marquette Poll Showcases Public Opinion Of The US Supreme Court

Sep 24, 2020

A new Marquette Law School Poll out Wednesday touched on a hot-button issue of late – public opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court. The poll usually surveys people across Wisconsin on state issues, but this one surveyed more than 1,500 people nationwide. More than 1,300 were likely voters.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 8-15, before the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Poll Director Charles Franklin says 48% said the next appointment to the court was very important to them personally. He thinks that means people are pretty engaged.

"About half of us think of the court outside of a nomination, as something that’s pretty important to us in terms of the next appointment,” Franklin says.

Franklin says the poll also shows somewhat limited knowledge about the court. For instance, more than a quarter of those surveyed think most of the nine members were appointed by Democratic presidents — when in fact, only four were.

The poll also shows limited familiarity with the justices. The late liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the highest name recognition at 63%. Conservative Brett Kavanaugh’s name is the second  most recognized at 60%. Then, it drops off by quite a bit. Franklin says 30% can give opinions on six or more justices. However, only a quarter have opinions on any of the justices.

“I can tell you as someone who has sometimes been challenged to name all nine justices, that I think, on the one hand, six out of nine is pretty good familiarity, even if you are being presented with the names of the justices. But at the same time, realizing that for 1 in 4 Americans, none of the justices have formed an opinion, that also puts us in the right perspective of somewhat limited knowledge,” Franklin says.

Franklin says the poll also shows 51% think Supreme Court picks should declare their positions on issues during the nomination hearings, while 48% think they should not.

Additional results of the Marquette Law School Poll will be released in the next couple of days.

President Trump says he’ll announce his choice to replace Justice Ginsburg on Saturday.