Gallup Poll: Supreme Court Approval Drops to 46%

Monday, 17 Oct 2011 10:22 AM

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The Supreme Court’s approval has dropped to 46 percent, a rate that is 5 points lower than last year and down 15 points in the past two. The Supreme Court approval rating is now approaching the lowest level ever reported for the institution, the Gallup organization reported.

The lowest rating Gallup has found for the court occurred in June 2005, when just 42 percent approved of the justices’ work. The new finding puts the court in the same boat as the two other branches of government — Congress and the president, both of which are polling near record lows with the public.

“The drop in Supreme Court approval in the latest poll could be a result of the broader decline in Americans’ trust in government in general, rather than a response to anything the court has done recently,” Gallup said.

However, the poll did find that the federal judiciary, which includes trial courts, the appeals courts and the Supreme Court, had the trust of a majority of the public. Nonetheless, the 63 percent approving of the federal judiciary ties the lowest it has polled at since 1976.

Partisan support of the high court is similar, with 50 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents approving of the court’s actions. Approval by Democrats has been declining, dropping from 75 percent in 2009.

“A plurality of Americans, 42 percent, believe the Supreme Court's ideology is ‘about right,’ but more believe it is ‘too liberal’ than ‘too conservative,’” Gallup reported. “That has been the case in each of the last three years — the first three years of the Obama administration. During the latter part of the Bush administration, 2006-2008, the public was more inclined to believe the court was too conservative.”

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