May 14, 2012

Supreme Court Favorability Reaches New Low

52%

Public assessments of the Supreme Court have reached a quarter-century low, with 52% offering a favorable opinion.

The nation’s highest court receives relatively low favorable ratings from Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15, 2012 among 1,514 adults nationwide, finds 52% offering a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, down from 58% in 2010 and the previous low of 57%, in 2005 and 2007. About three-in-ten (29%) say they have an unfavorable view, which approaches the high reached in 2005 (30%).

There are virtually no partisan differences in views of the Supreme Court: 56% of Republicans, and 52% of both Democrats and independents rate the Supreme Court favorably. And the decline in court ratings has occurred across party lines over the past three years. In April 2009, soon after Barack Obama took office, 70% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats, and 64% of independents held a favorable opinion of the court.

Republican ratings fell steeply between 2009 and 2010, with the appointments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the court. Democratic ratings remained relatively high through 2010, but have fallen steeply since. Read More