Supreme Court Favorability Reaches ‘New Low,’ Pew Poll Says

May 1, 2012

by Jeremy Leaming

Though not nearly as lame as Congress, approval ratings of the U.S. Supreme Court are waning. At least according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which shows the high court’s favorability has “reached a quarter-century low.” (An April Gallup survey shows only 17 percent approve of Congress.)  

The Pew survey, conducted after the Supreme Court’s high-profile consideration of the Obama administration’s landmark health care reform law, shows that 53 percent favor the high court, down from 58 percent in 2010 “and the previous low” of 57 percent in 2005 and 2007. The Pew Research Center says there “are virtually no partisan differences in views of the Supreme Court,” though noting that 56 percent of Republicans approve of the Court, while 52 percent of Democrats and independents hold a favorable view. Republicans’ favorable view of the Court dropped “steeply between 2009 and 2010, with the appointments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan,” while Democrats’ favorable view of the Court has declined since 2011.

The survey also continued to show a sharp divide between supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act.

The oral argument in the case challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law drew widespread coverage, with several of the high court’s right-wing justices garnering criticism for their apparent lack of understanding of the how the health care insurance market works. Following last week’s oral argument in the case over Arizona’s rabid anti-immigrant law, a string of commentators also noted that Justice Antonin Scalia had a wobbly grasp of the complexity of the federal immigration law.

[image via Pew Research Center]