Lunchtime Politics on Twitter

LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Supreme Court Polling, Historical Context – Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Maine Senate

Your Daily Polling Update for Tuesday, September 22


Up 1 from yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on seven polls, ranging from 38% (Politico) to 51% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would still be 45%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 54% today (same as yesterday)…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.


Among general election voters

Nationwide Popular Vote

(IBD/TIPP) Biden +6 (50-44)
Today’s average: Biden +6
Average of last five polls: Biden +6.2

RON’S COMMENT: In the IDB/TIPP survey, Biden’s margin has narrowed from 8 to 6 points over the last two and a half weeks. He now leads independents 45-38 and Democrats 93-5. Trump wins Republicans 94-4.

  • Young voters: A Harvard Kennedy School-IOP poll shows Biden beating Trump 60-27 among voters under 30 years old. But: “56% of likely voters who support the president are ‘very enthusiastic’ about voting for him, compared with 35% of likely voters who back the Democratic nominee when asked about their enthusiasm.”

In the States

States Trump carried in 2016
PENNSYLVANIA (Reuters): Biden +3
WISCONSIN (Reuters): Biden +5
MICHIGAN (MRG): Biden +5
iOWA (Des Moines Register): Even
GEORGIA (Univ of Ga.): Even

States Clinton carried in 2016: 
MAINE (Boston Globe): Biden +12
VERMONT (Vt. Public Radio): Biden +24

RON’S COMMENT: A tie in Iowa and Georgia is good news for Biden. It would be great news for him if he were actually carrying them. Trump won Iowa in 2016 by 9 points and Georgia by 5 points…. Pennsylvania remains close, with Biden holding the edge. Trump’s approval rating is 44% in the state. This poll also finds that having “a robust plan to deal with the COVID-19 crisis is the most important candidate trait among Pennsylvanians (29%), followed closely by having a strong economic policy (22%) and the ability to restore trust in government (16%). President Trump is seen as better on the economy (48%) than Biden (40%), but Biden (44%) has a slight edge over Trump (41%) on the plan for COVID-19. Biden (44%) is also seen as the candidate who can best restore trust in government, rather than Trump (37%)” …. Biden has a clear lead in Maine, a state Hillary Clinton won by 3 points in 2016. Biden wins the 1st CD by 22 points and the 2nd CD by 2 points.


Among voters nationwide

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R): 24%
Doug Collins (R): 21%
Raphael Warnock (D): 20%
Matt Lieberman (D): 11%
Ed Tarver (D): 5%

RON’S COMMENT: A close three-way contest in this open primary…. Incumbent Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R). The open primary is Nov. 3. A runoff, if needed, will be among the top two finishers…. Handicappers rate the race lean or likely Republican.

Sen. David Perdue (R) over Jon Ossoff (D): +2 (47-45)

COMMENT: Incumbent Perdue hangs on to a lead, but a small one…. Handicappers rate the race either a tossup or tilt/lean Republican.

Sen. Gary Peters (D) over John James (R): +2 (42-40)

RON’S COMMENT: If this poll is accurate, then we have a competitive race here. The previous four polls gave Peters an average lead of 4.8 points…. Handicappers rate the contest lean Democratic.

MAINE (Boston Globe)
Sara Gideon (D) over Sen. Susan Collins (R): +5 (46-41)

RON’S COMMENT: Except for one Quinnipiac poll that had Democrat Gideon ahead by 12 points, all recent polling has shown Gideon ahead by a remarkably consistent 5 points. Some of the interviewing for this poll was conducted after Justice Ginsburg’s passing. Handicappers rate the race a tossup or lean Democratic.

Cal Cunningham (D) over Sen. Thom Tillis (R): +6 (49-43)

COMMENT: Handicappers rate the race a tossup, even though Democrat Cunningham leads most polls.


Among voters nationwide

The new Politico poll finds that:

  • 56% of all voters, 60% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans and 51% of independents say the Supreme Court is “very important” to their vote––those numbers are up a respective 9, 12, 4 and 9 points from last week.
  • 37% say President Trump should pick Ginsburg’s replacement regardless of who wins on Nov. 3, while 50% say the winner of the 2020 election should make the pick. By party: 79% of Democrats, 49% of independents and 20% of Republicans say the winner of the next election should select the new justice.


By Andrew Rugg

While polling on the Supreme Court over the past several years has been limited, historical survey data provide valuable context as the debate over the next nominee begins. Keep in mind that public opinion often shifts over the course of prolonged public discussion.

  • 54% of voters nationwide approved of the job the Supreme Court was doing in a July 2020 Fox News survey, including 50% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans, 42% of independents. A Quinnipiac poll taken at the same time found 52% approved.
  • Most recent polls find Americans believe the court is either too conservative or about right ideologically: 36% think it’s too conservative, 37% about right, and 19% too liberal. (Quinnipiac, July 2020)
  • 81% view the process of confirming a Supreme Court justice as too political. In the same poll, 59% say justices are too influenced by politics. (Quinnipiac, April 2019).
  • 30% told CBS/NYT pollsters that the Senate should only consider a Supreme Court nominee’s legal qualifications and background when deciding how they will vote. 62% said the Senate should consider how a nominee might vote on major issues in addition to their qualifications.
  • 51% of voters did not want the Senate to vote in favor of Kavanaugh serving on the Supreme Court and 41% wanted the Senate to vote in favor. (CNN, October 2018). This was the highest “no vote” for any recent justice.
  • For comparison: Gorsuch: 45% wanted the Senate to vote in favor, 32% not in favor (Gallup, Feb. 2019); Kagan: 46% in favor, 32% not in favor (Gallup, Aug. 2010); Sotomayor: 55% in favor, 36% not in favor (Gallup, July 2009); Alito: 54% in favor, 30% not in favor (Gallup, Jan. 2006); Roberts: 60% in favor, 26% not in favor (Gallup, Sept. 2005). Ginsburg: 53% in favor, 14% not in favor (Gallup, Jun. 1993). Thomas: 58% in favor, 30% not in favor (Oct. 1991). Keep these benchmarks in mind when the eventual nominee is selected.
  • Most polls found support outweighed opposition for holding a vote on Merrick Garland, although opinions became more divided as the debate went on. By May of 2016, CBS/NYT found that 48% of voters favored the Senate holding a vote on Garland and 45% wanted the Senate to wait “for the new president” to fill the seat. 72% of Republicans, 26% of Democrats, and 44% of independents wanted to wait (CBS/NYT, May 2016)
  • Terms limits and mandatory retirement for Court justices are generally popular. 66% in a 2015 survey said that justices should serve a ten-year term. Only 17% said they should serve for life (Ipsos/Reuters, July 2015). 65% of voters in 2010 agreed that there should a mandatory retirement age for justices (Fox News, April 2020).
  • 2011 was the last major survey on the issue of “original intent” versus a broader interpretation of the constitution. 54% agreed with the statement that “times have changed and that the Court should interpret the Constitution based upon changes in society, technology, and the U.S. role in the world.” 41% agreed with the statement “the federal government should be permitted to do only what’s exactly spelled out in the Constitution or was the intent of the Framers of the Constitution” (Time, June 2011).


Which president appointed the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court?

(See answer below)


Click here to forward this message to a friend or client.
You can sign up here to receive Lunchtime Politics in your inbox everyday. Follow LunchtimePolitics on Twitter.

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
FILLING THE COURT VACANCY: Politico/Morning Consult, Sept. 18-20
HISTORICAL ATTITUDES ON SUPREME COURT: Various pollsters and AEI Public Opinion Studies: Public Opinion on the Supreme Court, June 2012.


Ronald Reagan. He appointed Sandra Day O’Connor, who joined the Supreme Court on September 25, 1981.

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux, Chief Analyst at Certus Insights. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2020 Ronald A. Faucheux

Subscribe Now

Contact Us
About Us
Ron Faucheux

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.