A historically unpopular Supreme Court handed down a historically unpopular decision


I covered the political impact in part in a previous column. But the court’s actions in the case could do more than just affect this year’s election.
The Supreme Court’s own reputation is at stake, and the decision to dispose of Roe v. Wade and upsetting the status quo comes at a very sensitive time for the judges of another court: that of public opinion.

And that’s where we’ll begin our look at the week’s news through the numbers.

The Supreme Court is not elected by voters. Many people agree, however, that it is important for the court to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. After all, the court relies on others to enforce its own decisions.
The High Court’s legitimacy in the public mind was already at very low levels, and that was before Roe’s overthrow – something most Americans didn’t want.
Forty-one percent of voters approved of the Supreme Court’s work, according to a May Quinnipiac University poll. The majority (52%) disagreed. It’s the highest disapproval rating Quinnipiac has had since he began asking about court approval in 2004.

The court’s position is a reversal from where it was two years ago, when 52% of voters approved and 37% disagreed in Quinnipiac’s poll.

Quinnipiac isn’t the only pollster to show major damage to the court’s reputation. The percentage of Americans (25%) who have a high or high level of confidence in the court is the lowest level recorded by Gallup since 1973.
The slide can mostly be attributed to Democrats. Today, 78% of Democrats disapprove of the job the court is doing, according to Quinnipiac. In 2020, only 43% did. Republican disapproval of the court has fallen from 38% two years ago to 28% now.

The reason why the public and Democrats have turned against the Supreme Court is pretty clear: it is seen as increasingly political and issues decisions that are not popular.

The aforementioned Quinnipiac poll showed that only 34% of voters thought the court was primarily driven by law. Most (62%) believe that the Supreme Court is primarily driven by politics. Four years ago, the split was much more even, with 50% believing the tribunal was primarily driven by politics and 42% saying it was primarily driven by law.

Again, this trend is driven by Democrats. Eighty-six percent of them told Quinnipiac that the court was primarily driven by politics. That’s up from 60% in 2018. Republicans who said the same had barely changed, from 46% in 2018 to 42% now.

It would be one thing if the court was seen as militant and made popular decisions. It’s not. The Gallup and Quinnipiac polls were taken after it was leaked in May that the court was set to overthrow Roe.

Americans agreed with the 1973 Roe decision. A May NBC News poll found that 63% did not want Roe overturned. Indeed, every poll I know of has shown a clear majority of Americans in favor of Roe.
This has virtually always been the case, dating back to 1973, when 52% favored the decision in a poll by Louis Harris & Associates.

Indeed, I’m not sure I remember another controversial and consequential Supreme Court decision that was equally unpopular.

Polls revealed a divided public when the court mostly upheld the Affordable Care Act in 2012.
A majority of Americans (54%) favored the court stopping the manual recount in Florida that effectively ended the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, according to a CBS News poll in the time.
A majority (55%) also approved of the court’s decision to desegregate public schools in Brown v. Board of Education of 1954.

One could argue that what the Supreme Court has done in overturning Roe is unprecedented from the perspective of public opinion.

However, what effect this will ultimately have remains to be determined.

Record midterm turnout looks possible

One of the potential impacts of the latest Supreme Court ruling is that it could make people more likely to vote – in a cycle that is already seeing very high turnout.

In other words, we could be looking at a second straight midterm with record attendance.

Why young voters probably won't cost Democrats in 2022

Through Tuesday, primary turnout is up 13% in states that have voted so far compared to this point in 2018. (This does not include states with statewide by party was not available for 2018 or 2022.)

Turnout in 2018, itself, was up from 2014 and 2010. In fact, 2018 saw the highest midterm turnout — as a percentage of population eligible to vote — in over of a century.
The high primary turnout shouldn’t be surprising given what we’ve seen in Virginia last year or in polls so far this cycle. Virginia’s competitive 2021 gubernatorial election saw the highest voter turnout for an out-of-year election in the Commonwealth since at least the mid-1990s.
Additionally, more voters are extremely excited about voting this year than in 2010 or 2014, according to a CNN/SSRS poll. And that extreme enthusiasm matches what voters felt at this point in 2018.
Using a slightly different metric, the ABC News/Washington Post poll found more voters saying at this point in the midterm cycle that they are certain to vote in November than at similar times in the 2010, 2014 or 2018.

I must point out that under all of these turnout metrics, the Republicans have done better than the Democrats. Turnout is up 28% in the Republican primaries from 2018, while it’s down 2% in the Democratic primaries. Republicans are more enthusiastic and sure to participate than Democrats, according to polls.

Roe’s downfall could change that dynamic, at least a little. A majority of Democrats (55%) said in a May Kaiser Family Foundation poll that they would be more motivated to run midterm if Roe was unseated. Only 23% of Republicans said the same.

Simply put, Roe’s overthrow means we could not only be looking at a record Republican turnout in November. The Democrats might end up not being too far behind.

For your brief encounters: school ends in the biggest city in the country

Many students, from kindergarten to grade 12, have been on summer vacation for quite some time. This is not the case in New York, where the last day of school is Monday.
For most elementary school students, a 2015 Gallup poll suggests there will be some sadness. The majority of them feel engaged by the school. The opposite is true for high school students, who are mostly bored.

An editorial note: This writer always felt ecstatic at the end of school, no matter the grade. He hated school and never, alreadywant to go back there.

Remnants of surveys

America’s influence: A new poll from the Pew Research Center reveals that 47% of Americans think the country’s influence in the world is declining, while 19% think it is growing. A majority (66%) think China’s influence is growing.
Smartphone holder: A recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans say they spend too much time on their smartphones, but about 65% say the devices have made their lives at least a little better.
Trump problems: Former President Donald Trump had led every national poll or first-state primary since February 2016. That streak ended when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis posted a margin-of-error lead ( 39% to 37%) in last week’s University of New Hampshire poll of 2024 GOP primary voters.


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