Majority in poll before Ginsburg's death supported holding hearings in 2020

A majority of Americans said in a new poll conducted prior to Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgThe truth, the whole truth about protecting preexisting conditions McConnell plans to fill two key circuit court seats even if Trump loses GOP faces fundraising reckoning as Democrats rake in cash MORE’s death that the Senate should hold confirmation hearings on a Supreme Court nominee for any vacancy this year.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans said in a Marquette University poll released Saturday that hearings should be held, while 32 percent said the Senate should not consider a nominee to the high court in an election year. 

Results did not significantly vary along party lines, with 71 percent of independents, 68 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats saying confirmation hearings should be held.


The survey was conducted Sept. 8 to Sept. 15, with responses gathered just days before Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

The poll results come as battle lines are drawn in Washington over a potential Senate fight to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ginsburg's death with fewer than 50 days to go before the November election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTop Senate GOP super PAC makes final .6M investment in Michigan Senate race On The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (R-Ky.) has already said that the Senate would move to fill the opening on the high court.

"Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise," McConnell said in a statement Friday shortly after news broke of Ginsburg's death.

"President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," McConnell said.


The remark sparked fury from Democrats, who noted that McConnell played an instrumental role in blocking former President Obama from confirming a Supreme Court nominee in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans held the seat open throughout that year's presidential election, allowing Trump to put forward his own nominee in early 2017.

The Marquette poll found that a majority of Americans across the political spectrum disagreed with the GOP's decision to block Obama's nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandWhat a Biden administration should look like McConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court MORE, in 2016.

Seventy-three percent of Americans in the poll said blocking Garland from receiving a confirmation hearing was the wrong thing to do, including 84 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 54 percent of Republicans.

The likely partisan fight over Ginsburg's replacement is expected to emerge as a top issue for both the Biden and Trump campaigns in the final 45-day sprint to the election.

Trump did not remark Friday on a possible nominee, but former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll Ivanka Trump raises million in a week for father's campaign On The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election MORE said Friday night that the winner of the Nov. 3 election should get to pick who succeeds Ginsburg.


“There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.

Majorities of both Biden and Trump supporters said the issue of the next Supreme Court appointment is important, with 89 percent of Biden backers saying it was “very” or “somewhat” important and 85 percent of Trump supporters saying the same, according to the Marquette poll.

Polls released in recent weeks have shown that voters trust Biden more to pick the next Supreme Court justice, with a Fox News poll out last week showing Biden with a 7-point edge over Trump regarding who voters trust to fill a vacancy.

The Marquette University poll surveyed 1,523 adults and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.