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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

What America Thinks: Will Voters Punish Senators over Scalia Impasse?

The unexpected passing of Justice Antonin Scalia has fired a predictable partisan controversy over who should fill the Supreme Court vacancy. But how do voters feel? We decided to find out what America thinks.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of both Republicans and Democrats believe that every person a president nominates to serve as a judge or in a government position should receive an up or down vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate. But at the same time, Republicans don’t want President Obama selecting Scalia’s successor and would rather the responsibility go to the next president. Democrats, on the other hand, want to get the seat filled as quickly as possible for fear a Republican might be Obama’s successor.

Just 27% of all voters, however, think it’s even somewhat likely that the GOP-controlled Senate will approve the nomination of any candidate Obama nominates to replace Scalia. So far that seems pretty accurate with Senate Republican leaders telling the president last week that they will not consider any Supreme Court nomination he makes this year. But will the GOP senators’ decision have political consequences for them?

While 81% of voters say the selection of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice is important to their vote in November, nearly half of Republicans say they’d be more likely to vote for a senator who refuses to consider an Obama nominee. Half of Democrats would be less likely to vote for that candidate. In short, the battle over the Scalia vacancy appears to be a draw for now.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.