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.”

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Blue-state Democrats such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate panel approves Scott Brown as NZ ambassador Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Mass.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyRussia probes in limbo after special prosecutor announcement Special counsel appointment gets bipartisan praise Lawmakers unveil bill to combat Sessions' push for tougher sentences 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 McConnellMitch McConnellTrump got harsher GOP reception than Bush on budget Franken explains why he made an exception to diss Cruz in his book The Memo: Trump returns to challenges at home 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 ManchinJoe ManchinConvicted ex-coal exec appeals case to Supreme Court Sanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts MORE (D-W.Va.) Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellySanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Updated fuel regulations would modernize options at gas pumps Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank MORE (D-Ind.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Separating fact from fiction in the Regulatory Accountability Act MORE (D-N.D.) and Jon TesterJon TesterSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Montana senator on Gianforte: Dealing with media ‘part of the job’ Senators pan WH proposal to cut airport security programs, hike ticket fees 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 BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenators push for enhanced powers to battle botnets Five things to know about Joe Lieberman Special counsel appointment gets bipartisan praise MORE (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.