Gallup: Majority Of Americans Say Merrick Garland Should Be Confirmed

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March 21, 2016 12:28 p.m.

A majority of Americans believe President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland should be confirmed, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

The percentage of Americans approving of a Senate vote in his favor is about average for Supreme Court nominees soon after their selection is announced by the President, according to Gallup’s review of past polling. But the poll also suggests that Republicans’ argument that the next president should choose the successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia hasn’t shifted the public opinion at large as to whether Garland should be confirmed.

According to the poll 52 percent of Americans favor Senate confirmation of Garland, while 29 percent of them oppose his confirmation. That level of support puts Garland slightly above the average percentage (51 percent) of Americans in the last 25 years who support nominees’ confirmation in their initial read of them.

A slim majority of Republicans — 51 percent — oppose Garland’s confirmation, but at similar or lesser levels than their opposition to the confirmations of Justice Elena Kagan (51 percent) and Justice Sonia Sotomayor (57 percent) when their nominations were first unveiled.

Of those Americans who oppose Garland’s confirmation, 67 percent say they oppose it because the next president should chose the nominee, while 20 percent say they oppose it on the basis of concerns about Garland himself.

President Obama announced Garland was his nominee last Wednesday. Gallup polled participants via telephone interviews March 18-19. The nationwide survey had a sample size of 1,019 adults and a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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