By Saeed Sobhani

Alarm for the White House

October 23, 2019

TEHRAN-State and public opinion polls in the United States show that Donald Trump is not in a good position with public opinion. This will undoubtedly cause serious problems for the US President in the upcoming presidential election. Many US analysts believe that if the current situation continues in the United States, Trump will certainly lose the next presidential election.

National poll: Majority of Americans lacks confidence in President Trump when it comes to making Supreme Court picks

As Journal Sentinel reported,A majority of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court and doubt he would pick the “right kind of person” to fill the next opening on the high court, according to a new and wide-ranging national survey about the court by the Marquette University Law School.  

But if a vacancy occurs during the 2020 election year and Trump nominates someone to fill it, the public overwhelmingly believes the Senate should hold confirmation hearings. In fact, a lopsided majority (73%) said it was “the wrong thing to do” when Senate Republicans refused during the 2016 election to fill a court vacancy in the final year of Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency.       

The national survey released Monday offers a sweeping snapshot of public perceptions of the court, its individual justices, its role, major rulings it has handed down and issues it could soon decide. By a large margin, Americans trust the Supreme Court more than either of the other two branches of government (Congress and the presidency), according to the nationwide poll of 1,423 adults taken Sept. 3 to 13.   

And most oppose the idea of adding seats on the court, an idea embraced by some on the left who feel Republicans have bent the rules to maintain a conservative majority on the court. But one idea for reforming the court that does have broad approval (72%) is having justices serve fixed terms instead of lifetime appointments, an idea that is strongly favored by Republicans, Democrats and independents alike in the survey.  

Compared to the other branches, the high court is well regarded: 80% of those surveyed have at least some confidence in the institution and almost 40% have a lot of confidence. The court rates much higher than Congress and the presidency in this regard. In fact, 57% said they trust the Supreme Court the most of the three branches, compared to 21% who chose the presidency and 22% who chose Congress. Subscribe to our On Wisconsin Politics newsletter for the week's political news explained.

The court is not perceived as highly partisan or extreme. Notably, its chief justice, John Roberts, is the least polarizing member of the court when it comes to the difference between how Democrats and Republicans view individual justices; Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by Republican Trump, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton, are the most polarizing along partisan lines.   

About half of those surveyed perceive the court as moderate. Almost 40% perceive it as conservative and a bit over 10% perceive it as liberal. But only one in 10 perceives it as “extremely” conservative or “extremely” liberal.  Most think the court follows “mainly the law” rather than “mainly politics” in reaching its decisions.

The poll also found that, while Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided over key rulings the court has handed down, these partisan differences don’t extend to the public’s view of all cases. For example, of seven major rulings the survey asked about, the most popular was one that is widely embraced by conservatives: the finding in “DC v. Heller” that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. It was viewed favorably by two-thirds of those polled.

But the next most popular ruling (viewed favorably by 56%) was one embraced more widely on the left than the right: the ruling establishing a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. In the same vein, the court’s most unpopular decisions include some decried by liberals (the “Citizens United” ruling allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose political candidates) and some decried by conservatives (allowing race to be considered in college admissions).

Looking ahead to issues that are now before the court, the poll found:

About six in 10 adults were opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states. The court agreed this month to hear a key Louisiana abortion case and others appear headed its way. 

Almost the same number support a decision that would extend protections against employment discrimination on the basis of sex to sexual orientation, as well.  The court has three cases before it that will test whether gay and transgender people are covered by existing employment protections.   

A little over half support making it constitutional to use public funds for religious school students.

A little over half think a ban on semi-automatic weapons would not violate the Constitution (even though support for the right to bear arms is broad).

A little over half (52%) would oppose the court striking down Obamacare, with 37% favoring such as ruling.

More than half (53%) would oppose a decision that allows the administration to end the DACA program that permits young people brought to the United States illegally to avoid deportation  

In addition to being the least polarizing branch of the government, the court is also the least well-known. While almost six in 10 Americans could offer an opinion of Kavanaugh and Ginsburg, only 16% could offer one about the court’s most anonymous justice, Stephen Breyer. About half of those polled knew enough to rate at least three members of the court. Only about a third knew enough to rate a majority of the court’s nine members. Roberts ranked right in the middle, at fifth, in name recognition, after Ginsburg, Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Sonia Sotomayor. Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Roberts had the most positive ratings, while Kavanaugh — who was at the center of a hugely divisive confirmation fight last year — was the only justice who was viewed negatively by more people than viewed him positively.  

Asked about Trump’s handling of court appointments, 43% approved and 57% disapproved. That was lower than his approval rating on the economy among all adults (48%) and slightly higher than his rating on handling immigration (42%). Asked how much confidence they have that Trump will select the right kind of person if there is another opening on the court, 45% said at least “some” confidence while 55% said very little or none at all.

There were big gaps between Democrats and Republicans over Trump’s handling of the court, not surprisingly, as there were over broader questions about the court’s decision-making. Most Republicans think the court should base its rulings on the original meaning of the Constitution rather than viewing it as a document whose meaning has evolved over time. Democrats follow the opposite pattern, and the partisan gap is huge on this question. Most Democrats think it’s more important than a decision lead to a fair outcome rather than that it “follows the law even if seemingly unfair.” Republicans are the opposite.  

There are huge partisan differences among U.S. adults over revisiting Roe v. Wade, over how the court should handle Obamacare and over whether the court should decide that a business owner’s free speech rights or religious beliefs can justify refusing service to gay customers. But Democrats and Republicans are closer to an agreement over key aspects of the confirmation process that has spurred so many bitter partisan fights in Washington. Majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats all say it was “the wrong thing to do” when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, refused to take up Democrat Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland during the 2016 election year — including 59% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 87% of Democrats.

Likewise, Americans of all political stripes think that the Senate should hold confirmation hearings if there is an opening in the 2020 election year and Trump nominates someone to fill it — including 75% of Republicans, 76% of independents and 62% of Democrats.

Questions about the health of the 86-year-old Ginsburg, one of the court’s four more liberal justices, have fueled speculation about that scenario. Four out of five adults said that if a nominee to the court is “qualified and has no ethical problems,” then senators are not justified in opposing confirmation just because those senators are from a different political party.

And majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents all say it’s not justified for senators to oppose a qualified nominee with no ethical problems simply because of how they think that member of the court would decide cases.


Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll

Also, The Hill reported that A majority of Americans disapprove of President Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court and have little or no confidence that he would pick a suitable candidate to fill any potential future vacancies, according to a new poll from the Marquette University Law School.

The survey found that 57 percent of U.S. adults polled somewhat or strongly disapprove of the way Trump has handled filling vacancies on the nation’s top court. Forty-three percent said they somewhat or strongly approve of the president’s approach, a figure that is slightly higher than Trump’s overall approval rating of 40 percent in the poll. Fifty-six percent said they have little or no confidence that Trump would “select the right kind of person to sit on the Supreme Court” if another vacancy were to open up. Thirty-two percent said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence, and another 13 percent said they have some confidence.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s record of Supreme Court appointments polls higher among Republicans, with 89 percent of respondents who identify with the GOP saying they strongly or somewhat approve of his approach to filling the court. Eighty percent of respondents who identified as Republican-leaning said the same.

The poll also found widespread disapproval with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) refusal to consider Merrick Garland, former President Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in early 2016. Seventy-three percent said McConnell's decision not to hold any confirmation hearings for Garland was the wrong thing to do, while 27 percent said it was the right thing to do.

McConnell argued at the time that it would be improper to hold confirmation hearings just before a presidential election. But if a vacancy opens up in 2020 ahead of the next election and Trump puts forth a nominee, 69 percent of the poll's respondents said that the Senate should hold hearings, while 31 said it shouldn't.

Trump later filled Scalia's seat with Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed in 2017. The poll also shows that the partisan battle over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation last year has had a lasting impact on the public’s perception of the court and Kavanaugh in particular.

Despite being the most junior member of the court, Kavanaugh, who was confirmed in a narrow 50-48 Senate vote last year after being bombarded with accusations of sexual assault, is now only second to Ruth Bader Ginsburg in terms of public awareness. Just 42 percent were unable to rate Kavanaugh in terms of favorability, compared to 41 percent for Ginsburg.

He also has the highest unfavorability rating of the nine justices, with 32 percent. Twenty-six percent said they viewed him favorably. Kavanaugh is one of two justices, along with Gorsuch, that Trump has nominated and seen confirmed to the court. The survey was conducted Sept. 3-13 and is based on answers from 1,423 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

What Our Poll Shows About Impeachment Views in 6 Swing States

New York Times reported that Voters in the states likeliest to decide the 2020 presidential election support the impeachment inquiry that House Democrats began last month, but a majority still opposes impeaching President Trump and removing him from office, according to a New York Times/Siena College survey.

In the six closest states carried by the president in 2016, registered voters support the impeachment inquiry by a five-point margin, 50 percent to 45 percent. The same voters oppose impeaching Mr. Trump and removing him from office, 53 percent to 43 percent.The survey depicts a deeply divided electorate in battleground states a year from the election, with the president’s core supporters and opponents exceptionally energized and unified. Yet at the same time, a crucial sliver of relatively moderate voters — just 7 percent of the electorate — support the inquiry without backing Mr. Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

The findings suggest that public opinion has stabilized since shifting quickly against the president in late September, and it leaves American politics where it has been for some time: deadlocked, with neither side likely to face severe political costs for its position on the president. Democrats have long feared that impeachment would alienate moderate voters. But in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona, a majority of voters support the inquiry. Self-described independents back the inquiry, 51 percent to 43 percent.

Support for the impeachment inquiry is largely consistent with recent national surveys, which show registered voters backing the inquiry by an average of nine points over the last three weeks, or a margin four points higher than the one in the Times/Siena poll. In 2016, the six battleground states were about four points more favorable to Mr. Trump than the rest of the country was, a pattern that persisted in the 2018 midterm election.

The results suggest that the president continues to be stronger in the top battleground states than he is nationwide. This is keeping his narrow path to re-election alive and insulating him and his party from national political opinion — to an extent. National surveys have been less consistent about the issue of removal. A few high-profile national surveys, including a Fox News poll criticized by the president, show a majority of voters support impeachment and removal. But many surveys have not shown support for removal. Patti LuPone on Getting Bullied by Broadway. And Why She Keeps Coming Back.

An NBC/WSJ poll, for instance, found that adults opposed impeachment and removal by a six-point margin, 49 percent to 43 percent, nearly the reverse of Fox’s result of 51 percent supporting and 43 percent opposed. Other surveys — from Marist College, Quinnipiac, CNN/SSRS, and Monmouth College — also found more opposition than support for impeachment and removal. The Times/Siena results are fairly consistent with those surveys.

A group that could be crucial to shifting the balance of public opinion is voters who say they support the inquiry but are not ready to support removing the president. This 7 percent slice of respondents tends to be younger — 33 percent are 18 to 34 — and nearly half are self-identified independents. They could prove tough for Democrats to convince: 51 percent say that the president’s conduct is typical of most politicians, perhaps suggesting that they hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him.Mr. Trump’s supporters from 2016 are nearly unanimous in their opposition to removing him. Overall, 94 percent of respondents who said they voted for him four years ago said they opposed his impeachment and removal. It is possible that Trump voters who have soured on him are less likely to divulge their 2016 preference to a pollster. (Crosstabs available here.)

Trump voters are not convinced that the president’s conduct was atypical for politicians in Washington. Only 11 percent of Mr. Trump’s 2016 supporters believe that his Ukraine-related conduct is worse than the conduct of most politicians, while 75 percent said it was typical. Democrats and self-reported Hillary Clinton voters strongly support impeachment and removal, but they are divided by ideology and levels of political engagement. Overall, 83 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s voters said they supported impeachment and removal from office, compared with 93 percent of Republicans who opposed. Just 75 percent of moderate and conservative Democrats say they support impeaching and removing Mr. Trump, while 21 percent are opposed. Very liberal Democrats, on the other hand, are all but unanimous: 93 percent in favor and 4 percent opposed.

Much of the hesitation among Democrats comes from voters who say they aren’t following the news about impeachment very closely. Of these voters, 21 percent oppose impeaching and removing Mr. Trump. Support for impeachment could grow as Democratic voters tune in; Democrats who are paying “very close” attention support impeaching Mr. Trump and removing him from office, 94 percent to 5 percent. New developments could sway public opinion as well. The Times/Siena survey of 1,934 respondents had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points and was conducted from Oct. 13-20, largely before the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged that aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of Democrats. (He later retracted those comments).But more time doesn’t guarantee a shift in public opinion. The rapid increase in support for impeachment after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of the opening of the inquiry last month has clearly slowed and perhaps even ground to halt. Paying close attention doesn’t ensure that voters will resolve to remove the president, either: Trump voters who say they’re following the impeachment news “very closely” oppose impeachment and removal from office, 97 percent to 3 percent.

TRUMP IS LOSING TO DEMOCRATIC FRONTRUNNERS IN KEY SWING STATE MINNESOTA: POLL

Newsweek reported that A new poll shows President Donald Trump losing his 2020 re-election bid to every leading Democratic candidate in the key swing state of Minnesota. A Star Tribune poll released on Monday found that the trio of leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, all defeated Trump in head-to-head matchups. The survey also found Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar besting Trump in the swing state despite being less successful in national polling.

Biden had one of the biggest leads over Trump of any of the Democratic candidates, according to the poll. Fifty percent of voters backed the former vice president compared to the 38 percent who supported Trump. Fifty-one percent of voters said they'd choose Warren over the president. But Trump did have slightly more support from voters (40 percent) when matched up against Warren than with Biden. Sanders came in third among Democratic candidates, with 49 percent of voters backing him as opposed to the 40 percent who would support Trump.

But it was Klobuchar who was shown beating Trump by the widest margin of any Democratic candidate, 50 percent to 38 percent. The Minnesota senator has a national polling average of just 2 percent. Candidates need to average at least 3 percent support in four DNC-approved polls to move on to the next debate. The Star Tribune poll was conducted from October 14 to October 16. It consisted of 800 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Donald Trump 2020 rally Minnesota
President Donald Trump speaks onstage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The rally follows a week of a contentious back and forth between President Trump and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. A new poll shows Trump losing to top Democratic challengers in Minnesota.

Trump was just in Minneapolis, Minnesota earlier this month for a 2020 campaign rally. During the event, the president slammed polling that showed him in danger of losing to his Democratic competitors.

"Now, the do-nothing Democrat con artists and scammers are getting desperate," Trump said. "Thirteen months, they've got to move fast because they are not beating us in the polls and they know it. Despite the phony polls that you see all the time."

Trump added that he "knows polls very well" and that polls are "no different than crooked writers."

But his hold on the presidency has become even more uncertain after the House of Representatives launched an official impeachment inquiry against him last month. The inquiry came as a result of reports that Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate Biden and his son Hunter. Trump has waved off the impeachment inquiry as a "Democratic witch hunt" and has claimed that no other president in U.S. history has been treated so badly. But polling shows that a growing number of Americans support removing him from office.

According to a recent Gallup survey, 52 percent of U.S. adults now support Trump's impeachment.
 

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