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 WarrenWarren battles Carson: Housing discrimination 'the scandal that should get you fired' Overnight Regulation: Omnibus includes deal on tip-pooling rule | Groups sue over rules for organic livestock | AT&T, DOJ make opening arguments in merger trial Warren presses Mulvaney, Azar on tip pooling MORE (Mass.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocrats lay into Trump's pick of Bolton for national security adviser Bill to bolster gun background checks gains enough support to break filibuster Democrats remain skeptical of Trump’s rebuilding plan 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 McConnellSenate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump GOP senator threatened to hold up bill over provision to honor late political rival: report Paul: Shutting down government not my goal 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) ManchinCoal miners' union to endorse Manchin Washington VIPs gather to celebrate Mark Penn's new book Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps MORE (D-W.Va.) Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to speed up infrastructure permitting 2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Koch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp MORE (D-Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) Tester2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP: We will grow our majority in midterms Senate passes bipartisan bill to roll back Dodd-Frank 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.