Americans’ confidence in Supreme Court plummets, poll finds

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Americans' confidence in Supreme Court plummets, poll finds

Americans’ trust in the Supreme Court has fallen by nearly one-fifth since September 2020, according to a new survey out Tuesday.

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that just over half of registered voters (51%) either had “some” confidence (37%) or “a lot” of confidence (14%) in the high court. Meanwhile, the other half of voters have expressed little (24%) or no confidence (26%) in the Supreme Court.

Twenty months ago, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 70% of registered voters told the same survey they had “some” (50%) or “a lot” (20%) of confidence in the Supreme Court, with 23% noting they had only a “little” and just 7% remarking they had “none.”

The most recent survey was taken after a draft Supreme Court decision leaked to and published by Politico last week showed the justices may be on the verge of striking down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Abortion rights protest
The poll was taken after the Supreme Court draft opinion indicating the overturning of Roe v. Wade was leaked.
Getty Images

The poll showed voters to be almost evenly divided over whether the leak was a “good thing” (30%) or a “bad thing” (37%), with 33% unsure.  

Asked about the leaker, 38% of respondents believe the person is pro-choice while just 20% think the person was pro-life. 

The person who disclosed the draft decision to Politico has yet to be identified.

A draft opinion of the Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade leaked last week.
A draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade leaked last week.
AP
Supreme Court
Fifty-nine percent of Republicans indicated that they disapprove of the leak.
AFP via Getty Images

Broken down by political party, 59% of Republicans said they considered the leak to be bad, compared to 19% who viewed it as good. Among Democrats, 50% of respondents approved of the leak, compared to 20% who described it as bad.

In the draft decision, dated in February, Justice Samuel Alito argued that the Roe decision was “egregiously wrong from the start” and that the question of whether to restrict abortion should be left up to the states. 

The results of the Yahoo/YouGov poll follow similar trajectories as other surveys. 

Supreme Court
Confidence in the Supreme Court was at 70 percent just 20 months ago.
Getty Images/Bloomberg Creative

A Pew Research Center poll released in February showed that 54% had a favorable view of the court, down from 69% in August 2019. 

Over the same time period, the court’s unfavorable rating in the survey rose to 44% from 30%.

A Gallup survey examining the Supreme Court over a 20-year span found Americans’ approval of the court falling from 62% in 2001 to 40% in 2021. 

pro-choice demonstrators
In the draft opinion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito called Roe v. Wade “wrong from the start.”
AFP via Getty Images

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll surveyed 1,577 adults between May 3 and 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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