The Lead

Overturning Roe sends approval of U.S. Supreme Court plummeting, Marquette poll finds

By: - September 23, 2022 6:30 am

A view of the front portico of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.

By Erik Gunn

On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that overturned a national right to abortion, public approval of the court has fallen dramatically and stayed there, a new national poll from Marquette Law School finds.

In the new survey, 40 percent of respondents said they approved of how the court was doing its job while 60 percent said they disapproved.

The survey also found that 61 percent of those surveyed opposed the June 24 high court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states.

“I think it very clearly drives this shift in views of the court,” Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, said of the ruling striking down Roe. Franklin spoke in an interview posted on the law school’s YouTube channel.

The new survey is the 10th national Marquette Law School Poll focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court. The new survey polled 1,448 adults and was conducted online Sept. 7-14. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

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The high court’s approval has been falling in the last two years, and has now almost completely flipped. In a September 2020 poll, 66 percent of those surveyed said they approved of the court, while 33 percent disapproved. The last survey to register a net positive approval took place in March 2022, when 54 percent said they approved of how the court was handling its job and 45 percent disapproved.

The high court’s approval went under water just after a draft was leaked in May of the pending abortion ruling in the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In the Marquette poll’s May 9-19 survey, 44 percent of respondents said they approved of the court’s work and 55 percent said they disapproved.

With the July 5-12 survey, the first after the decision itself, the gap grew wider: 38 percent said they approved of the court and 61 percent disapproved. Those numbers changed only slightly with the new survey, Franklin said.

In addition to losing public approval, the court has also lost public confidence, according to the Marquette poll. In the new survey, 30 percent said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the court, while 36 percent said they had “very little” confidence or “none at all.”

In September 2019, when the first Marquette national survey on the court was conducted, 37 percent said they were confident and 20% not confident in the court, Franklin said. In the new survey, confidence fell by 7 points, but “not confident” increased by 16 points, he observed.

In addition to the overall negative shift in views of the court, the new poll also found a sharper partisan division. Among Republicans in the survey, 65 percent said they approved and 34 percent disapproved. Among Democrats, 24% said they approved and 76 percent disapproved, while 35 percent of independents approved and 66% disapproved.

“Partisan differences are larger than they used to be,” Franklin said. In the July 2021 survey, when 60 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved, “there was very little partisan difference.”

Erik Gunn is the deputy editor of the Wisconsin Examiner, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared

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