Monday, October 17, 2011

The Supreme Court's Recent Approval Rating

Here's the recent polling data on the Supreme Court's public approval, courtesy of the Washington Post:

Notably, the data shows a five point dip from last year and a fifteen percent dip from two years ago.  To those who study public opinion and the Court, this is not a big worry.  According to James Gibson, for example, “the kind of basic loyalty to the legitimacy of the institution has changed very little.”

He may be right about that, though I have a different question: in light of everything we know about the Court, how in the world does 46% of the public support it at all?

This is a testament to the the mythology of the Court.


  1. The question that should have preceded the one used in this poll is:

    "What IS the Supreme Court's job?"

    Then, each response could be further broken down as depicted in the graph above. This might shed light on what role American's think the high Court really exist to serve. That's a poll I'd be interested in seeing.

  2. I agree, though I am reminded of the usual polling data on Ben Bernanke. The public does not like what he is doing, yet have no opinion on what he should be doing instead. That's because they have no clue.

    I suspect if you asked a question on what the Court's job is, the leading answer is "interpret the law," or not to be activist, or something inane like that.