Marquette Law School Supreme Court Poll September 8-15, 2020

These are partial results with other items held for later release.

(Percentages are rounded to whole numbers for reporting of results. Frequencies have been rounded to whole numbers but percentages are calculated based on non-integer weighted sample sizes.)

Results for survey items among all respondents are presented here (unless otherwise indicated). Please note that some questions are only asked of particular groups of respondents. In these instances, the row “NA’s” includes the number and percent of total respondents omitted from the question. These omitted cases are ignored when calculating the “Valid” and “Cumulative” percent columns.

Q3A: confidence in Supreme Court

[The US Supreme Court] Here is a list of institutions in American society. How much confidence do you have in each one?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
A great deal 176 12 12 12
Quite a lot 423 28 28 39
Some 679 45 45 84
Very little 191 13 13 96
None at all 51 3 3 100
SKIPPED ON WEB 4 0 0 100

Q28: how to interpret the law

How should Supreme Court justices interpret the law? Should they…?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Read the text of the law as written 475 31 31 31
Use the commonly understood meaning at the time the law was written 343 23 23 54
Interpret the law as it applies to current circumstances 693 45 45 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 13 1 1 100

Q38: what motivates decisions

In general, what most often motivates Supreme Court justices’ decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Mainly politics 568 37 37 37
Mainly the law 945 62 62 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 10 1 1 100

Q39: how should justices base decisions

How should Supreme Court justices base their decisions? On their interpretations of…?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
What the US Constitution was understood to mean when it was originally written 688 45 45 45
The Constitution as a document whose meaning may have evolved over time 817 54 54 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 18 1 1 100

Q40A: favor/oppose - overturn Roe vs. Wade

[Overturn Roe versus Wade, thus strike down the 1973 decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 276 18 18 18
Somewhat favor 211 14 14 32
Somewhat oppose 221 15 15 47
Strongly oppose 621 41 41 87
Don’t know 176 12 12 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 18 1 1 100

Q40B: favor/oppose - strike down Obamacare

[Strike down the 2010 health care reform law, also called Obamacare, by declaring it unconstitutional] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 342 22 22 22
Somewhat favor 206 14 14 36
Somewhat oppose 231 15 15 51
Strongly oppose 563 37 37 88
Don’t know 168 11 11 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 13 1 1 100

Q40C: favor/oppose - strike down gun magazine restrictions

[Strike down as violating the Second Amendment laws that limit the types and capacities of gun magazines that can be sold or possessed.] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 310 20 20 20
Somewhat favor 258 17 17 37
Somewhat oppose 261 17 17 54
Strongly oppose 502 33 33 87
Don’t know 174 11 11 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 19 1 1 100

Q40D: favor/oppose - exempt religious schools from employment discrimination law

[Rule that under the First Amendment, religiously affiliated schools are generally exempt from employment discrimination laws with respect to those employees whose jobs involve conveying religious beliefs.] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 279 18 18 18
Somewhat favor 355 23 23 42
Somewhat oppose 290 19 19 61
Strongly oppose 366 24 24 85
Don’t know 216 14 14 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 17 1 1 100

Q40E: favor/oppose - prevent fed agencies can’t write own rules

[Rule that a federal agency may not write regulations unless their substance is explicitly set forth in legislation passed by Congress.] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 259 17 17 17
Somewhat favor 553 36 36 53
Somewhat oppose 212 14 14 67
Strongly oppose 79 5 5 72
Don’t know 406 27 27 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 15 1 1 100

Q40F: favor/oppose - prevent laws that make it harder for 1 party to vote

[Rule that laws that make it harder as a practical matter for supporters of one party but not the other to vote are unconstitutional.] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 450 30 30 30
Somewhat favor 285 19 19 48
Somewhat oppose 216 14 14 62
Strongly oppose 225 15 15 77
Don’t know 324 21 21 98
SKIPPED ON WEB 23 2 2 100

Q40G: favor/oppose - exclude adoption agencies that don’t accept same-sex couples

[Rule that religious social service organizations that refuse to certify same-sex couples as foster parents may be excluded from being one of the local organizations allowed to operate a public foster placement program.] How much do you favor or oppose the following possible Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 324 21 21 21
Somewhat favor 290 19 19 40
Somewhat oppose 293 19 19 60
Strongly oppose 372 24 24 84
Don’t know 230 15 15 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 13 1 1 100

Q47A: favor/oppose - ruling that land in OK belongs to Creek Nation

[Ruled that land in Oklahoma granted in the 1830s to the Creek Indian Nation as a reservation retains that status because Congress has not amended the treaties and that the state of Oklahoma therefore could not itself prosecute tribal members for major crimes in the eastern portion of the state, including places such as Tulsa.] How much do you favor or oppose the following recent Supreme Court Decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 325 21 21 21
Somewhat favor 384 25 25 46
Somewhat oppose 199 13 13 60
Strongly oppose 180 12 12 71
Don’t know 416 27 27 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 21 1 1 100

Q47B: favor/oppose - ruling that colleges can use affirmative action

[Decided colleges can use race as one factor in deciding which applicants to admit] How much do you favor or oppose the following recent Supreme Court decisions?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Strongly favor 77 5 5 5
Somewhat favor 178 12 12 17
Somewhat oppose 283 19 19 35
Strongly oppose 823 54 54 89
Don’t know 146 10 10 99
SKIPPED ON WEB 16 1 1 100

Q47C: favor/oppose - ban employment discrimination on basis of sexual orientation