Public wants Senate action on court, but interest is modest

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 10:51 AM

But an Associated Press-GfK poll also suggests that GOP defiance against considering the nominee may not damage the party much because, to many people, the election-year fight is simply not a large deal.

Public wants Senate action on court, but interest is modest

Nearly two in third Americans back Democrats' demands that the Republican-run Senate keep hearings and a vote on President Barack Obama'south choose for the Supreme Court. But an Associated Press-GfK poll also suggests that GOP defiance against considering the nominee may not damage the party much because, to many people, the election-year fight is simply not a big deal.

Just one in fifth in the survey released Wednesday said they've been following the battle over Obama'south nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland extremely or very closely.

That included just twenty-six % of Democrats and twenty-two % of Republicans expressing intense interest, along with a scant eight % of independents. That aligns with the political reading of the issue by many Republicans that while it motivates each side'south most committed partisans, people in the center consider it a yawner — making the fight essentially a wash.

Another clue that voters not committed to either party discover the Ct fight tiresome: While just over half of Democrats and Republicans said the issue is extremely or very important, only around a third of independents — and half of Americans overall — said so.

About eight in tenth said that about the economy and about seven in tenth took the same stance about health care and the threat posed by the Islamic State group. Immigration and the U. S. role in world affairs both attracted slightly more intensity of interest than the court battle.

"It gets me irritated, the bickering and all that kind of stuff," Julie Christopher, forty-nine, a Republican and flight attendant from Fort Worth, Texas, said in a follow-up interview, describing her modest attention to the issue.

Christopher said that while she agrees with the GOP'south refusal to keep hearings on Garland, when it comes to backing candidates in November, "That'south not going to be my only thing, love boom, I'm not going to vote for them."

Hours after Justice Antonin Scalia'south death in February, Senate Majority Boss Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his chamber wouldn't consider an Obama nominee and would instead wait until the president elected this Nov makes a pick. With the remaining justices split four-4 between those leaning conservative or liberal, most GOP senators have lined up behind McConnell.

Democrats have been spewing outrage ever since. Along with liberal groups, they've been using television ads, news conferences, public demonstrations and Senate speeches to ratchet up pressure on GOP senators, particularly those facing re-election this fall in swing and Democratic-leaning states love Illinois, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, PA and Ohio.

Democrats' theory is that the public wants Republicans to finish their obstruction and let the Senate do its job, forcing GOP senators to relent on Garland or risk beat in November. The AP-GfK poll has some data backing that up.

The sixty-four % who favor hearings and a vote this year on Garland comprise an overwhelming proportion of Democrats and a sizable minority of Republicans, forty percent. Independents, who can be pivotal in closely divided states, back action this year, fifty-two % to thirty-six percent.

"I'd rather look at minimum deliberations, and look Congress do its job," said Marc Frigon, thirty-three, a high-tech worker from Beverly, Massachusetts, who leans Republican and wants the Senate to reject Garland'south confirmation. "I perceive love that'south why we elected them in the first place."

Just over half of moderate and liberal Republicans wish the Senate to keep hearings this year, while fewer than three in tenth GOP conservatives say that.

Overall, people declare by fifty-nine % to thirty-six % that they wish the Senate to approve Garland should a vote be held. Nearly nine in tenth Democrats favor proof and independents tilt slightly that way, while sixty-nine % of Republicans favor rejecting him.

In another sign that the public tips toward Obama on the issue, fifty-seven % approve of the way he'south been handling the Garland nomination. That'south more than the no who gave the president positive reviews on any other issue in the poll: the economy, health care, Islamic State militants, immigration and world affairs.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1.076 adults was conducted online March 31-April 4, using a sample drawn from GfK'south probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U. S. population. The edge of sampling mistake for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't have access to the Internet were provided access for free.

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Online:

http://ap-gfkpoll. com

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