WASHINGTON– The Supreme Court’s public approval plummeted following the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn the Roe v. Wade guaranteeing the right to abortion nationwide, according to a poll.
Disapproval of the nation’s highest court was particularly pronounced among the roughly two-thirds of American adults who oppose Roe’s overturning, while support for the court was high among those in favor, according to the poll. Marquette Law School, which also revealed heightened partisan polarization in approval.
The draft opinion obtained by Politico would overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to terminate a pregnancy. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the project was genuine and ordered an investigation, led by Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley, to try to find the source of the leak.
The official notice is expected to be released sometime next month. The case involves a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks, but if judges go further and strike down the abortion rights first announced in Roe, about half the states would have to ban or severely restrict abortion.
In the Marquette poll, 55% disapprove of the court, up from 45% in March. Approval fell by a corresponding 10 percentage points, from 54% to 44%.
Of those who oppose Roe’s overturning, 74% disapproved of the court in the new poll, up from 54% in March. Eighty-four percent of those who favor dropping major abortion court precedents expressed approval of the institution, up from 65% two months ago.
Approval was fairly stable among Republicans from March to May, but fell sharply among Democrats and slightly among independents.
The investigation, conducted from about a week after the document was leaked, shows a further erosion of public support for the court; confidence in the court had begun to decline in polls last year.
In September, the Marquette Law School poll, among other surveys, found a drop in court approval after it voted to allow a restrictive abortion law into effect in Texas.
Opinions on abortion in the new poll were consistent with previous surveys, with about two-thirds of American adults saying they opposed Roe’s cancellation.
Other polls, including those conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, have also consistently shown that about 1 in 10 Americans want abortion to be illegal anyway. A majority favors legalizing abortion in all or most circumstances, but polls indicate that many also support restrictions, particularly later in pregnancy.
The new Marquette poll showed Americans were evenly split on Mississippi’s law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, similar to opinions earlier this year.
The poll of 1,004 adults was conducted May 9-19 using a sample drawn from the SSRS Probability-Based Opinion Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.