I’ve covered some of the political impact in a previous column. But the court’s actions in this case could do more than affect this year’s election.
The Supreme Court’s own reputation is at stake, and the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and disrupt the status quo comes at a very sensitive time for the judges of another court: that of public opinion.
And that’s where we start our take on the week’s news with numbers.
The Supreme Court is not elected by the voters. However, many people agree that it is important for the court to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. After all, the judge relies on others to enforce his own decisions.
The legitimacy of the Supreme Court in the minds of the public was already at a very low level, and that was before Roe’s overthrow—something most Americans didn’t want.
Forty-one percent of voters approved the Supreme Court’s work, according to a May Quinnipiac University poll. The majority (52%) disapproved of it. That was the highest disapproval score recorded by Quinnipiac since it began seeking court approval in 2004.
The court’s standing is a turning point from two years ago, when 52% of voters approved and 37% disapproved in Quinnipiac’s polls.
Quinnipiac isn’t the only pollster showing a major deterioration in the court’s standing. The percentage of Americans (25%) who have high or low levels of confidence in the courts is at the lowest level Gallup has ever recorded since 1973.
The shift is mainly attributable to the Democrats. According to Quinnipiac, 78% of Democrats disapprove of the court’s work. In 2020, only 43% did. Republicans’ disapproval of the court has fallen from 38% two years ago to 28% now.
The reason the public and Democrats have turned against the Supreme Court is pretty obvious: It’s seen as increasingly political and makes decisions that aren’t popular.
The Quinnipiac survey mentioned earlier found that only 34% of voters believed the court was motivated primarily by law. Most (62%) were of the opinion that the Supreme Court is mainly politically motivated. Four years ago, the split was much more even: 50% believed the court was primarily motivated by politics and 42% said it was primarily motivated by law.
Again, this trend is being driven by Democrats. Eighty-six percent of them told Quinnipiac that the court is primarily motivated by politics. That’s more than 60% in 2018. Republicans saying the same thing had hardly changed, from 46% in 2018 to 42% now.
It would be one thing if the court was seen as an activist and made popular statements. It’s not. Both the Gallup and Quinnipiac polls were held after news leaked in May that the court was about to overthrow Roe.
Americans agreed with the 1973 Roe ruling. An NBC News poll in May found that 63% of them did not want Roe to be destroyed. Indeed, every poll I know of shows that a clear majority of Americans are in favor of Roe.
This has almost always been the case, going back to 1973, when 52% favored the decision in a poll by Louis Harris & Associates.
Indeed, I’m not sure I can recall another controversial and consequential Supreme Court decision that was so unpopular.
Opinion polls found a divided audience when the court largely enforced the Affordable Care Act in 2012.
A majority of Americans (54%) were in favor of the court halting the Florida hand recount that ended the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, according to a then-CBS News report. -survey.
A majority (55%) also approved the court’s decision to desegregate public schools in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education.
You could argue that what the Supreme Court has done to overthrow Roe is unprecedented from a public view point of view.
However, it is not yet clear what effect it will ultimately have.
Record interim turnout seems possible
One potential impact of the latest Supreme Court ruling is that it could make people more likely to vote – in a cycle that is already seeing very high turnout.
In other words, we could be looking at a second consecutive midterm with record attendance.
Through Tuesday, primary voter turnout is up 13% in states that have voted so far compared to this point in 2018. (This does not include states where statewide turnout was unavailable for 2018 or 2022.)
Turnout in 2018 itself was higher than in 2014 and 2010. In fact, 2018 had the highest medium-term turnout — as a percentage of the population eligible for election — in more than a century.
The high primary turnout shouldn’t be surprising given what we’ve seen in Virginia last year or in the polls so far this cycle. Virginia’s competitive gubernatorial election in 2021 had the highest turnout for an off-year election in the Commonwealth since at least the mid-1990s.
Furthermore, there are more voters extremely eager to vote this year than in 2010 or 2014, according to polls by DailyExpertNews/SSRS. And that extreme enthusiasm is consistent with how voters felt right now in 2018.
By a slightly different measure, ABC News/Washington Post polls have found more voters saying they will definitely vote at this point in the mid-term cycle than at comparable points in the 2010, 2014 or 2018 cycles.
I should point out that under all these turnout figures, Republicans have outperformed Democrats. Turnout in the Republican primaries has increased by 28% since 2018, while it has fallen by 2% in the Democratic primaries. Republicans are more enthusiastic and confident in their turnout than Democrats, according to the polls.
The fall of Roe could at least change that dynamic a little bit. A majority of Democrats (55%) said in a May Kaiser Family Foundation poll they would be more motivated to run mid-election if Roe were rejected. Only 23% of Republicans said the same.
Put another way, Roe’s overthrow means we may not just be looking at a record number of Republicans in November. The Democrats may not be too far behind.
For your short encounters: school ends in the largest city in the country
Many students, from kindergarten to 12th grade, have been on summer vacation for some time now. That’s not the case in New York City, where Monday is the last day of school.
For most elementary school students, the 2015 Gallup poll suggests there will be a little bit of sadness. The majority of them feel involved in school. The opposite is true for high school students, who are mostly bored.
An editorial note: This writer always felt ecstatic at the end of school, regardless of grade. He hated school and never, everwant to go back.
America’s influence: A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 47% of Americans think the country’s influence in the world is waning, while 19% think it’s getting stronger. A majority (66%) think that China’s influence is growing.
Smartphone attachment: A recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans say they spend too much time on their smartphones, but about 65% say the devices have made their lives at least a little bit better.
Trump problems: Former President Donald Trump has led in every national or early state primary poll since February 2016. That streak ended when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis posted a margin of error (39% to 37%) lead in last week’s University of New Hampshire poll of likely 2024 GOP main voters.