Reuters-Ipsos poll: 62% say to wait on SCOTUS nomination until after election

Reuters-Ipsos poll: 62% say to wait on SCOTUS nomination until after election

Is this out of principle, or just sheer exhaustion from everything 2020 has already thrown at us? To-may-to, to-mah-to … In the first poll taken since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, six in ten Americans want to hold off on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg until after the election, including about half of all Republicans.

The Reuters-Ipsos poll also showed that Ginsburg’s death gave Joe Biden a slight electoral edge over Donald Trump, although it’s close enough to call it an even split:

The poll found that 62% of American adults agreed the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the Nov. 3 matchup between Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, while 23% disagreed and the rest said they were not sure.

Eight out of 10 Democrats – and five in 10 Republicans – agreed that the appointment should wait until after the election. …

The looming fight over the Supreme Court vacancy so far does not appear to have given either of the two major political parties much of an advantage in an incendiary campaign season that already was expected to break participation records.

The poll found that 30% of American adults said that Ginsburg’s death will make them more likely to vote for Biden while 25% said they were now more likely to support Trump. Another 38% said that it had no impact on their interest in voting, and the rest said they were not sure.

Er … who expects this election to “break participation records”? We have a pandemic taking place, Donald Trump is one of the least-popular incumbents ever to run for re-election, and Joe Biden isn’t doing any in-person GOTV work at all. Neither candidate has any claim to historical meaning, unlike Barack Obama’s truly massive turnout in 2008. This might well end up being one of the lower-rate turnouts for a presidential election, even with Ginsburg’s death making the SCOTUS question more acute than usual.

The poll itself is a little sketchy, too. They started polling within hours of Ginsburg’s death, which is a little ironic for a survey that essentially touches on a “too soon” argument. An online survey over a weekend about a breaking news story from Friday night? Pardon me if I don’t take the outcome too terribly seriously, especially since it comes from a sample of 1006 adults rather than registered voters, and has a D/R/I of 46/37/17.

We can wait for better polling, but I’m not necessarily sure that the outcomes will improve by much. Republicans might fall more in line, especially as Democrats hyperventilate and radicals promise to burn it all down in response. As for the rest of the electorate, they’ll see this as unfair after the Merrick Garland episode no matter how much Mitch McConnell and others try to spin the differences. It’s likely to be a broadly unpopular choice, especially as the media continues to roar in disapproval, and perhaps particularly when the nominee emerges and can be attacked on her record.

It doesn’t matter much, anyway. No one who was going to vote for Donald Trump will change his mind because Trump’s replacing RBG, and no one who was voting for Biden will change their mind over it, either. The only risk is for close Senate races, and even that has to be weighed against the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice whose impact will far outweigh a single Senate term. A couple of those races weren’t going to end well anyway, so even that risk is tempered. At least, that seems to be the cold calculation McConnell’s making.

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