Biden’s Supreme Court Pick Faces Little Opposition From Voters

46% of voters say Ketanji Brown Jackson should be confirmed, while only 17% say she shouldn’t
February 28, 2022 at 1:00 pm UTC

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court pick, has more initial support for her confirmation than any of the three jurists nominated by then-President Donald Trump, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey.

What the numbers say

  • A plurality of voters (46 percent) said the Senate should vote to confirm Jackson, who’s set to begin meetings with senators this week, compared with 17 percent who said it should not and 36 percent who were unsure.
  • Seven in 10 Democrats support Jackson’s confirmation, higher than the initial share of Republicans who supported Trump’s first pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch, but roughly in line with the initial base support garnered by Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.
  • The bulk of Republican voters (45 percent) said they didn’t know or had no opinion about whether the Senate should confirm Jackson, mirroring the tepid initial response to her nomination from the party’s leaders.

The context

The strong initial showing for Jackson, who has been pegged to replace Justice Stephen Breyer after the upcoming court term, will come as welcome news for a president looking for a political victory as his domestic agenda remains on ice and he deals with a crisis abroad.

But despite the historic proposition of seating a Black woman on the nation’s highest court, voters do seem to recognize the relatively low stakes her nomination poses to the court’s ideological balance.

How voters feel

  • About a third of voters (34 percent) said Jackson’s confirmation would make the Supreme Court at least somewhat more liberal, just shy of the 36 percent who said her ascension would not change the court’s ideological balance at all.
  • Roughly 4 in 5 Democrats said Jackson’s nomination made them feel hopeful, along with 3 in 4 who said it made them happy and proud. Sixty-eight percent of Democratic voters said they were excited about it, slightly less than the 75 percent who expressed excitement about the prospect of a Black female nominee in early February
  • Among Republican voters, the most common emotions were frustrated (43 percent) and indifferent (42 percent).
  • Nearly 3 in 5 voters have yet to form opinions about Jackson, including 31 percent who say they haven’t heard of her. Her name recognition is just slightly lower than that of Chief Justice John Roberts, whom 35 percent of voters said they’ve never heard of. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas have the highest name recognition of any judges on the bench, with three-quarters of voters having heard of each of them.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Feb. 25-27, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,004 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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