Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch

Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch
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A plurality of Americans say the Senate should confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who is expected to face vigorous opposition and a likely filibuster from Democrats.

According to data from a Harvard-Harris survey provided exclusively to The Hill, 44 percent say the Senate should confirm Gorsuch. Thirty-two percent say they’re unsure and 25 percent say Gorsuch should not be confirmed.

“Gorsuch is off to an excellent start in his nomination process,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard-Harris poll. “A quarter, however, is holding back judgment for now, suggesting televised confirmation hearings could be critical for him and them.”

Blue-state Democrats such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (Mass.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator MORE (Ore.) lined up early in opposition to Gorsuch.

Democrats are expressing alarm by what they are characterizing as Gorsuch’s extreme right-wing views and they’re eager to turn the tables on the GOP after Senate Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee, a vote last year.

Democrats will likely demand Gorsuch meet the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate and would need eight Democrats to defect unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) complies with Trump's call to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

McConnell had repeatedly expressed confidence that Gorsuch will be confirmed to the high court.

Conservatives have praised Gorsuch and all Senate Republicans are expected to back him.

Liberal activists are threatening to primary Democratic senators if they don't try to block Gorsuch's nomination, putting pressure squarely on the 10 Democrats up for reelection in states that Trump won.

Trump has been wooing potential swing votes, inviting Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries MORE (D-W.Va.) Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank GOP defeats Schumer bid to delay tax vote MORE (D-Mont.) to the White House for private meetings. None have publicly committed to backing his nominee yet.

The Harvard-Harris study also found that the public believes the judicial branch has become politicized.

Fifty-five percent said federal judges are ruling based on their political views, against 45 percent who said they’re decisions are based solely on the law. An overwhelming majority — 84 percent — said judges should rule based on the law, not their own political views.

In addition, 55 percent expressed support for judges being elected, against only 26 percent who said they should be appointed.

“A majority now believes judges are using their political views to shape their rulings while over 8 in 10 want judges to put their political views aside,” Penn said. “This suggests growing credibility problems for the courts unless corrected. It also suggests a message that Gorsuch can emphasize about how he intends to rule if confirmed — on the basis of the law, not politics.”

Trump has publicly retaliated against the “so-called judge” — an appointee of former President George W. Bush who was approved 99-0 by the Senate — who halted his executive order limiting refugees coming into the country and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The president has also gone after the judges on the court of appeals in San Francisco who upheld the ruling.

“Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they could read a statement and do what’s right,” Trump said earlier this month.

Trump’s criticism of the judiciary has been condemned by members of both parties. In a private meeting, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gorsuch called the attacks “disheartening” and “demoralizing." Trump countered that Blumenthal mischaracterized Gorsuch's remarks.

The online survey of 2,148 registered voters was conducted between Feb. 11 and 13. The partisan breakdown is 39 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 27 percent independent and 5 percent other. The Harvard–Harris Poll survey is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll.