Harry Reid meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on March 17 in Washington, DC. | Getty
By a margin of 2-to-1, American voters say the Senate should consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to Supreme Court, according to the results of a national Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday.
More than six-in-10 of the registered voters surveyed nationwide — 62 percent — said the Senate should consider the nomination of Garland, the current chief judge of the D.C. Circuit court. On the other hand, just one-in-three, or 33 percent, responded that the Senate should not consider any nominee until a new president is in the White House. President Barack Obama tapped Garland on March 16 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia — leaving ample time, the president’s allies argue, for senators to fully consider his record.
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Among Republicans, the results are reversed — 62 percent said the Senate should not consider any presidential nominees until 2017 and 33 percent said senators should consider Garland. Along all other demographic and ideological lines, however, there are varying levels of majority support for Garland’s consideration.
Public sentiment in polls has generally favored the Senate’s consideration of a nominee. A CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday, for example, suggested that 53 percent of Americans surveyed would like the Senate to vote on Garland’s nomination, a step farther than the mere consideration posed in the latest survey.
Slightly fewer than half of all respondents — 48 percent — said they approved of Garland’s nomination, with 27 percent disapproving and another 25 percent who were not sure. Senate Republican leaders vow they will not move forward with Garland’s nomination or that of any court nominee — regardless of ideology or record on the bench — as a matter of principle. Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of playing politics with the process.
Elsewhere in the survey, Obama earned an approval rating of 49 percent to 48 percent disapproval, his highest level of support in a Quinnipiac poll since May 2013, when his approval stood at 48 percent to 45 percent disapproval. Congressional Democrats fared better than their Republican counterparts in terms of favorability as well, though both are deep underwater: While only 32 percent said they approved of congressional Democrats’ performance and 60 percent disapproved, just 15 percent approved of Republicans, with 81 percent disapproving.
Quinnipiac conducted the survey from March 16-21 via landlines and cellphones, surveying 1,451 registered voters nationwide, with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.