The share of Americans who support the death penalty for persons convicted of murder is now at its lowest point in more than four decades.
Although Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, more Americans say they favor (46%) than oppose (30%) Garland’s confirmation to the high court. About a quarter (24%) offer no opinion.
If Senate Republicans stick with their declared intention to not consider anyone President Obama might nominate to replace Antonin Scalia, his seat on the Supreme Court likely would remain vacant for a year or more. That would be the longest vacancy on the court for nearly five decades, but by no means the longest ever in U.S. history. In fact, for much of the 19th century it was not uncommon for Supreme Court seats to be unoccupied for months – or, in a few cases, years – at a time.
Such high levels of interest and engagement weren’t common in past Supreme Court nomination battles.