Poll: Supreme Court’s approval rating drops below 50 percent for first time

The Supreme Court’s favorability rating has dropped below 50 percent for the first time, according to a poll released Wednesday from the Pew Research Center.

The survey found that 48 percent had a favorable impression of the nation’s highest court, with 38 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. 

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The numbers mark a drop from the court’s 52 percent support in the same poll taken in March and from its all-time high of 80 percent approval in 1994.

The poll comes after a number of high profile decisions this term striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied same-sex couples federal benefits, and invalidating a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. That ruling was sharply criticized by civil rights groups who said it could set back minority participation in elections. 

The poll found a striking drop in support among blacks. 

In March, 61 percent of African Americans had a favorable view of the court to 24 percent unfavorable. That support dipped to a 44 favorable and 41 unfavorable split.

Pew said that was the lowest favorability rating for the court among blacks since 1985. 

Overall, Democrats viewed the court more favorably, with 54 percent rating it positively. Forty-eight percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents held a favorable view of the court. 

The poll was conducted from July 17-21 and has a 3-point margin of error. 

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