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33% Trust the President More Than Congress, Supreme Court

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Democrats strongly trust the president more than Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, while Republicans and unaffiliated voters have mixed feelings about all three branches of the federal government.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 33% of all Likely U.S. Voters trust the president most. Twenty-three percent (23%) trust the Supreme Court more, while just 15% put their faith in Congress. Twenty-nine percent (29%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

The partisan breakdown is really no surprise. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Democrats trust the president the most, but just 11% of Republicans and 20% of unaffiliateds agree. Among GOP voters, 28% trust the Supreme Court the most, while 27% feel that way about Congress. Ask voters not affiliated with either of the major parties which branch of the government they trust most, and it's 16% for Congress and 25% for the Supreme Court. 

Just 26% of all voters think the Supreme Court is doing a good or excellent job, down from 28% in June. Just as many (26%) rate the Supreme Court poorly, but that's down, too, from June’s all-time high of 30%. 

Following the close of the Supreme Court term in July 2009, 48% thought the justices were doing a good or an excellent job. The numbers have been all downhill since then. During 2010 and 2011, the ratings were in the mid-30s. 

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters think the Supreme Court is too liberal, down from a high of 40% in June. Twenty-seven percent (27%) feel the court is too conservative, while 22% say its ideology is about right. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 22-23, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Nineteen percent (19%) of voters think the Supreme Court places too many limitations on what the federal government can do, but 27% believe it doesn't limit the government enough. A third (33%) think the level of limitation is about right, but 21% are not sure.

Democrats are also more likely than Republicans and unaffiliateds to give the Supreme Court good or excellent marks.

Tea Party voters tend to trust Congress the most, while non-members are inclined to trust the president more. A plurality (45%) of those in the Tea Party thinks the Supreme Court doesn't limit the government enough, while 39% of those who are not members of the grass roots movement see the level of limitation as about right. 

Only 17% of voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed

Sixty percent (60%) think it is more important to preserve our constitutional system of checks and balances than it is for government to operate efficiently. 

President Obama has criticized congressional Republicans for insisting on spending cuts in any budget deal that continues government operations past October 1, saying they risk "economic chaos." Most voters agree a federal government shutdown would be bad for the economy, but they're willing to risk one until Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on ways to cut the budget, including cuts in funding for the new national health care law. 

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on 10 out of the 15 major issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

But Democrats have jumped to a three-point lead on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot as Congress battles over funding for the health care law.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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