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The polls agree: most Americans balk at GOP's Supreme Court scheme

Republicans may prefer to pretend the public is with them on their high-court gambit, but the evidence to the contrary is tough to miss.
Image: US Supreme Court
Officials stand on the Supreme Court steps on Capitol Hill on Sept. 22, 2020.Patrick Semansky / AP

Many of the same Senate Republicans who refused to even consider a Supreme Court nominee in 2016, balking at the idea of a confirmation process months before an election, are now scrambling to put Donald Trump's newest choice on the high court. GOP officials are defending their nihilistic hypocrisy by insisting they're simply reflecting voters' will.

They're not. As we discussed last week, the first major independent poll conducted after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, conducted by CNN, found that 59% of Americans believe the Supreme Court's vacancy should be filled by the winner of the 2020 election.

There's now additional evidence, and it's all pointing in the same direction.

A majority of Americans oppose efforts by President Trump and the Republican-led Senate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy before the presidential election, with most supporters of Democratic candidate Joe Biden saying the issue has raised the stakes of the election, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The Post-ABC poll, conducted Monday to Thursday, finds 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week, should be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the current Senate, while 57 percent say it should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year.

There's also this survey to consider.

A clear majority of voters believes the winner of the presidential election should fill the Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to a national poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College.... In a survey of likely voters taken in the week leading up to Mr. Trump’s nomination on Saturday of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court, 56 percent said they preferred to have the election act as a sort of referendum on the vacancy. Only 41 percent said they wanted Mr. Trump to choose a justice before November.

The latest NBC News/Marist polling found a majority of likely voters in Michigan and Wisconsin -- two key 2020 battlegrounds -- also agreed that the winner of the this year's presidential election should fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

The Washington Post reported last week, meanwhile, that internal Republican polling in 17 swing states pointed in a similar direction.

Republicans may prefer to pretend the public is with them on their high-court gambit, but the evidence to the contrary is tough to miss. Senate incumbents who are on the ballot in competitive contests this year should probably take note.