Poll Says Most Americans View Neil Gorsuch Positively

Americans’ first impressions of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch tilt positive, and a plurality say the Senate ought to vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s selection to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

Overall, 49% say the Senate should vote to confirm Gorsuch, who is a federal judge. That’s roughly the same share that said so about Samuel Alito in 2005 and Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 shortly after their nominations were announced. Support for Gorsuch is just a hair below that of former President Barack Obama’s selection for the same seat, Merrick Garland (52% supported a vote in favor), who did not receive a hearing or confirmation vote in the Senate.

About half say Gorsuch’s ideological position is about right (49%), less than said so about Garland (56%). About a third, 34%, say they think Gorsuch will be too conservative, higher than the share who said so of other successful GOP nominees Alito (29%), John Roberts (24%) or Clarence Thomas (20%).

Overall, though, 39% say they have a positive first impression of Gorsuch, significantly higher than the 24% who say they have a negative impression of him. More, 45%, said they had a positive first impression of Garland after his pick was announced last year and 54% felt positively about Roberts after his announcement.

Republicans are broadly behind a vote in favor of Gorsuch (84% say the Senate should confirm him), while Democrats are mostly opposed (61% say he should not be confirmed). The partisan divide was a bit less sharp on Garland, with 80% of Democrats in support of confirmation and 54% of Republicans opposed.

Now, Democrats are more apt to say Gorsuch would be “too conservative” on the bench (53% say so) than Republicans were to say that Garland would be “too liberal” in March of last year shortly after his nomination was announced (44%).

About half (51%) say Senate Democrats would be justified if they used Senate procedures to block Gorsuch, only slightly higher than the 48% who said Senate Republicans would be justified in doing so with Obama’s selection to replace Scalia before Garland was named as the then-president’s pick.

Assessing the Republican leaders in Congress who will manage Gorsuch’s confirmation process, their approval ratings are on the rise. At the outset of this first period of GOP control of both houses of Congress and the White House since 2007, 39% approve of the way they’re handling their jobs.

That’s the highest approval rating for GOP leadership since the CNN/ORC poll began asking in 2008, and above the 35% who approved shortly after they regained control of the House of Representatives in 2011. It falls well below the 60% who approved of Democratic leaders in Congress in 2009, however, as that party began a two-year stint in control of both houses of Congress and the White House.

Click here to read more.
Source: CNN