Alternate headline: It’s all fun and games until it stops being hypothetical. Twitter pal Crazy Uncle Tim refers us to a somewhat overlooked survey from Marquette earlier this month. Marquette published it over the weekend after the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the issue acute. Just what do Americans expect if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up in the middle of a presidential election?
Hypothetically speaking, two-thirds expect the Senate to do its job. Granted, that has probably changed significantly since Friday, but prior to that it wasn’t even a partisan issue:
The question of holding hearings and a vote on confirming a new justice immediately became an issue with Justice Ginsburg’s death, as it had following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. In this poll, conducted in the days before Ginsburg’s death, a substantial majority of respondents of both parties say that if a vacancy occurred during the 2020 election year, the Senate should hold hearings on a nominee, with 67 percent saying hearings should be held and 32 percent saying they should not be held. Views on holding hearings do not vary much by partisanship, as shown in Table 3. This table will provide a baseline from before there was a vacancy against which to measure any future change in partisan views, if a nomination is made and considered.