Supreme Court Rating Jumps After Taking on Obamacare

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 9, 2012   |   1:10PM   |   Washington, DC

Americans view the Supreme Court in more favorable terms after it spent a week taking on the Obamacare law that includes abortion funding and concerns about rationing health care.

“Just before the highly publicized hearing on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, ratings for the U.S. Supreme Court had fallen to the lowest level ever measured by Rasmussen Reports. Now, following the hearings, approval of the court is way up,” says pollster Scott Rasmussen.

According to a new survey the polling firm released today, 41 percent of likely voters now rate the Supreme Court’s performance as good or excellent — up 13 points from 28% in mid-March and it is the court’s highest rating in two-and-a-half years. Nineteen percent (19%) still rate the court’s work record as poor, unchanged from last month.

“It is impossible to know if the improved perceptions of the court came from the hearings themselves, President Obama’s comments cautioning the court about overturning a law passed by Congress, or from other factors. Approval of the court had fallen in three consecutive quarterly surveys prior to the health care hearings,” Rasmussen said.

The turnaround is mostly partisan as Republicans independents — who have opposed the Obamacare law since Democrats in Congress approved it, drove up the positive approval ratings for the high court.

Three weeks ago, 29% of Republicans gave the Supreme Court positive marks for its job performance; now that number has climbed to 54%. Similarly, among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties, good or excellent ratings for the court have increased from 26% in mid-March to 42% now. Democrats’ views of the court are largely unchanged.

Among all voters, 28% now think the Supreme Court is too liberal, 29% say it’s too conservative, and 31% believe the ideological balance is about right, Rasmussen said. The number who view the court as too liberal is down five points from a month ago.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Republicans still think the high court is too liberal, but that’s down from 56% three weeks ago. Unaffiliated voters are now more inclined to see the court as too conservative. But Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliateds all view the court as more balanced than they did in the previous survey.

“The last time the court’s good or excellent ratings were in the 40s was in October 2009 when 43% ranked it that way. That was the start of the court’s first session with Justice Sonya Sotomayor, Obama’s first nominee to the high court. At that time, 58% of Democrats shared a positive view of the court’s performance, but just 33% of both Republicans and unaffiliated voters agreed,” Rasmussen said.

Most voters want the health care law repealed and 54% expect the Supreme Court to overturn it, Rasmussen polling data show.