A narrow plurality of swing voters said in a new poll that the Senate should confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court only if President Donald Trump wins reelection — an indication that Democrats have a slight advantage in public opinion heading into brutal hearings next month.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult survey conducted Saturday, after news that Trump had settled on Barrett as his choice, found that voters were evenly split on both the nomination and the proper timing for a Senate vote. On the narrow question of whether Barrett should be confirmed, 37 percent said they favor confirmation, 34 percent were opposed and 29 percent didn’t know or have an opinion.
Those figures reflected the nation’s partisan divide over the high court opening: 14 percent of Democrats support her vs. 59 percent opposed, while 71 percent of Republicans are in favor and just 7 percent opposed.
Voters were likewise closely divided on the issue of whether a vote on Barrett should occur only if Trump wins. Overall, 40 percent said she should only receive a vote if Trump is reelected, 39 percent said she should be confirmed as soon as possible no matter what, and 20 percent didn’t know or have an opinion. The partisan breakdown on the question of timing was similarly lopsided.
Yet Democrats appear to have a small advantage on both matters involving Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement, as gauged by swing voters. Twenty-eight percent of independents backed Barrett, while 31 percent said she should not be confirmed. And 39 percent of respondents who identified as independent said Barrett should get a Senate vote only if Trump wins, versus 34 percent who said a vote should occur as soon as possible.
Other national polls conducted before Barrett’s nomination was made official — including a New York Times/Siena College poll released on Sunday — showed majorities thought the election winner should pick the next justice, in line with Democrats’ arguments in the week since Ginsburg’s death.
The POLITICO/Morning poll, however, also appears to validate the grounds on which Republicans intend to wage the Supreme Court battle: That it should be primarily about Barrett’s qualifications, not her political beliefs. Sixty percent said senators should vote based on whether she is qualified, while just 21 percent said that political and social issues that might come before her as a justice should be the main consideration.
At the same time, poll respondents by a 2-to-1 margin said that Roe v. Wade, the controversial abortion rights ruling, should be upheld. And 43 percent said justices should uphold past decisions in most cases even if they disagree with them, versus 34 percent who said their own opinion of the law should be given more weight.
The poll surveyed 1,990 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Polls conducted entirely in one day can also carry additional sources of error.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.