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Voters Want Senate to Move ASAP on Supreme Court Vacancy

Voters agree with President Trump and Senate Republicans that the time to put a new justice on the U.S. Supreme Court is now.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters think the U.S. Senate should move as quickly as possible to confirm a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Forty percent (40%) disagree and say the confirmation should be put off until a new Senate takes office in January. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This is comparable to attitudes in February 2016 following the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Fifty-one percent (51%) said President Obama should replace Scalia right away, but 43% said the choice should be left to the new president elected in November. Republicans ignored Obama’s nominee and delayed the vote until the 2017 Senate session when it approved Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, for the Scalia seat.

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Trump plans to announce his next nominee for the high court on Monday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises a confirmation vote in the fall. But Democrats, hopeful that they can gain a majority in the Senate in the November elections, want to delay that vote until next year.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of all voters rate the selection of a new Supreme Court as important to their vote in November, with 63% who say it is Very Important. Just 12% say it’s not very or Not At All Important.

This is even more importance than voters attached to the selection of a new high court justice as they weighed their vote in the 2016 presidential election.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 1-2, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The Supreme Court which handed down some major wins for conservatives and the Trump administration in the closing weeks of its latest term now earns its highest approval rating in several years. Gorsuch was a deciding vote.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republicans and 54% of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe the Senate should move as quickly as possible to fill the Kennedy vacancy, but just 30% of Democrats agree. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Democrats say the decision should be put off until next year.

But voters in all three groups agree on the importance of the Supreme Court nomination to their vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of political conservatives want to fill the Supreme Court vacancy as soon as possible. Eighty-one percent (81%) of liberals want to wait for the next Senate. Moderates are almost evenly divided.

Voters who attach the most importance to the Supreme Court nomination favor moving on it as quickly as possible.

Last year during the debate over Gorsuch’s nomination, most voters said it’s unlikely the president could nominate anyone to the U.S. Supreme Court who would appeal to both Republicans and Democrats. Rasmussen Reports will update that finding on Friday.

Sixty-six percent (66%) believe every person the president nominates to serve as a judge or in a government position should receive an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate.

Fifty-four percent (54%) said last fall that the Supreme Court should abide by the U.S. Constitution in its rulings, but that number was at its lowest level in nearly a decade.

The Supreme Court’s final ruling of the current term said government workers who don’t want to join a union don’t have to pay dues to support collective bargaining and other union actions. Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters agree that workers shouldn’t have to pay mandatory union dues at a unionized employer.

The Supreme Court in another of its end-of-the-term rulings upheld the president's temporary ban on newcomers from countries that are known terrorist havens. Fifty percent (50%) of voters support the travel ban, and more voters than ever (55%) agree that it is intended to keep out terrorists and is not a ban on Muslims as critics charge.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 1-2, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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