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Positives Hold Steady for Supreme Court, Negatives Are Down

Friday, January 07, 2011

In the first survey conducted since Justice Elena Kagan has actively participated in U.S. Supreme Court hearings, 38% of Likely Voters say the high court is doing a good or excellent job.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 18% give the Supreme Court a poor rating on their job performance.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The good or excellent findings have shown little change for several years now. But in November 23% rated the court's performance as poor, the highest negative it had earned in over three years.  In October 2009, just after the first session with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 43% approved of the job the high court was doing. 

Both Kagan and Sotomayor, President Obama's only high court nominees to date, were viewed as ideological liberals by voters at the time of their Senate confirmation hearings.  Forty-two percent (42%) feel Supreme Court justices nominated by the president will be too liberal.  Only five percent (5%) say they’ll be too conservative, while another 41% believe his nominations will be about right ideologically.

Overall, 37% of voters say the Supreme Court is too liberal.  Just 22% disagree and say the high court is too conservative, while 33% feel it’s about right.  These findings show little change since October 2009. When we first began asking the question in July of that year, only 31% felt the court was too liberal.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 5-6, 2011 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.


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