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SCOTUS approval polling is still low but somehow up with Democrats. Why?

Are people paying attention? Either way, those numbers might be going back down.


There’s a new poll out on the Supreme Court, and, while the court's approval rating is still low after the Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, the latest numbers are a bit odd.

The Marquette Law School poll shows that Democratic support for the Republican-controlled court has increased in the months since Dobbs, from 15% to 35%. Overall, the poll shows 47% approval and 53% disapproval. That's up from the post-Dobbs low of 38% approval in July last year but still lower than the 60% approval of July 2021. (The most recent survey interviewed 1,000 adults nationwide between Jan. 9-20 and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.8 percentage points.)

So what’s with the increased support lately? Dobbs obviously drove the previous decrease, and there’ve been plenty of nightmare reports since then about the ruling’s devastating effects. Of course, it's possible that those numbers will sink again when the court issues its most controversial decisions this term, which, like in Dobbs, might not happen until late June when the court usually wraps up. I have another post today previewing some of the most consequential cases to watch, and I’ll be curious to see how those poll numbers fare at the end of this term.

On the subject of public awareness, another thing that stood out in the poll is how relatively few people are aware of what’s happening at the court, not only with its cases but with its composition: 23% said they thought a majority of the justices were appointed by Democrats (it’s a 6-3 Republican majority, to be sure).

I’ll be doing my part to cover the court here on the blog, so stay tuned for upcoming decisions this term that might change those numbers.