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Gallup: Supreme Court approval lowest in history — 40 percent — and could get worse in 2022

... has dropped 22 points since Bush v. Gore

The approval of the U.S. Supreme Court has been trending downward since its infamous Bush v. Gore decision in 2000, but it has reached its lowest point in history, according to Gallup.

The disapproval is also the highest in history, and the poll was taken in September after the approval of the Texas abortion law.

The drop was precipitous, going down nine points in less than three months.

Could get worse this year

Gallup announced the drop in September, but it is becoming more relevant this year since major decisions could come down. Here is the analysis from September,

Americans' opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court have worsened, with 40%, down from 49% in July, saying they approve of the job the high court is doing. This represents, by two percentage points, a new low in Gallup's trend, which dates back to 2000. The poll was conducted shortly after the Supreme Court declined to block a controversial Texas abortion law. In August, the court similarly allowed college vaccine mandates to proceed and rejected a Biden administration attempt to extend a federal moratorium on evictions during the pandemic …

The previous lows in Gallup's trend include 42% approval in 2005 after the court expanded government's eminent domain power, and again in 2016, after the Supreme Court ruled colleges could continue to consider using race as a factor in admissions, a decision most Americans opposed. In 2013, 43% approved of the Supreme Court after it issued rulings that expanded the rights of same-sex couples and weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Jeffrey M. Jones, “Approval of U.S. Supreme Court Down

to 40%, a new low,” Gallup, September 21, 2021

If the court would decide to overturn Roe v. Wade, that would likely unleash another decline since Gallup polling in June 2021 showed that Americans want the abortion decision to remain in place by a 21-point margin, 58-37.

Disapproval highest in history

This goes along with many polls that have shown that the court is out of line with public opinion on many hot-button issues,

Now, a majority of 53% disapproves of the job the Supreme Court is doing, exceeding the prior high disapproval of 52% from 2016.

A Sept. 9-13 Monmouth University poll found 54% of U.S. adults disagreed and 39% agreed with the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Texas abortion law to go into effect.

Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, Sept. 21, 2021

Steep decline with confidence in all federal judiciary

This poll found that Americans have little faith in the trust of the judicial branch of the federal government,

The September survey also reveals a steep decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who express "a great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government, from 67% in 2020 to 54% today. The current reading is only the second sub-60% trust score for the judicial branch in Gallup's trend, along with a 53% reading from 2015.

Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, September 21, 2021

Why will the approval continue to drop in 2022?

Gallup points out that the current court may see its approval plummet again this year,

Americans' opinions of the Supreme Court are now the worst Gallup has measured in its polling on the institution over the past two-plus decades. At this point, less than a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents approve of the job the court is doing. Barely half of Democrats and independents are confident in it, while confidence is slightly higher among Republicans.

The decision on the Texas abortion law has received the most attention, but the high court's recent emergency rulings on college vaccine mandates and the eviction moratorium were also controversial. The new court term beginning next month will include cases that deal with abortion and gun laws, issues that stir great passion in the U.S. and are certain to elicit strong pushback from people on the losing side of those decisions.


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