The Supreme Court’s recent decisions on protecting LGBTQ people in the workplace and maintaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are both popular with the American public, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. Approval for the Supreme Court itself is also up modestly, with the judicial branch seeing newly bipartisan goodwill.
Last Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination at work on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Then, last Thursday, the court ruled to keep DACA in place, shielding nearly 650,000 undocumented young people from deportation.
Both rulings are well in line with popular opinion. A 69% majority of Americans say they support laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against discrimination in the workplace, with just 21% opposed. A 57% majority support allowing undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country, with 29% opposed. (Other recent polls have found even broader support for both DACA and nondiscrimination laws.)
Americans currently approve of the Supreme Court, 46% to 35%. Underlying that positive impression is a newfound partisan consensus: Nearly identical shares of Republicans (54%) and Democrats (56%) currently say they approve. (Those who identify as political independents hold the lowest opinion of the court.)
The agreement between Democrats and Republicans marks a significant shift from polls taken over the past few years, when one party has tended to be notably warmer than the other toward the judicial branch. In 2015, after the court preserved a major part of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats broadly approved of the Supreme Court’s performance, while Republicans mostly disapproved; in 2018, those views had more or less flipped, with Republicans about three times likelier than Democrats to approve.
Results of a June 2020 HuffPost/YouGov poll on the Supreme Court.
It’s not clear how much current opinions of the Supreme Court are influenced by the most recent decisions. Only 54% of Americans say they were following the latest set of rulings even somewhat closely, and just 17% that they were following the rulings very closely.
Forty-two percent of voters say that issues relating to the Supreme Court will be very important in deciding their vote for president this year.
The balance of partisan interest in the Supreme Court has also shifted over the years. In June 2018, voters who backed Hillary Clinton were 11 points likelier than Donald Trump voters to say that issues relating to the Supreme Court would be very important to their vote in that year’s midterms. Now, Trump voters are 10 points likelier than Clinton voters to call the Supreme Court a very important factor in the upcoming presidential election.
A 57% majority of Americans say they trust the Supreme Court about as much as the other branches of the government, with 27% trusting it more and 16% trusting it less. A 43% plurality say it has about the right amount of power, with 29% believing it has too much power, and just 6% that it wields too little.
The public is divided on the court’s ideology, with 21% calling it too liberal, 24% too conservative, 27% saying it’s about right, and another 28% unsure.
Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted June 18-20 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.
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