Overall, 52 percent view the court favorably, compared with 31 percent who have an unfavorable view of the high court.

The partisan divide over the court is steep — and hard to explain. Democratic approval shot up to 64 percent after the court upheld President Obama's healthcare law, but has since slipped to 56 percent.  The court has issued few major rulings since the healthcare case.

Neither party seems to believe the court is on its side. A plurality of conservative Republicans (45 percent said the court is liberal. Only 9 percent of conservatives see the court as conservative, even though a majority of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents.

Liberal Democrats have the inverse impression — 48 percent said the court is conservative, while just 15 percent view it as liberal.