The People Want to Wait: Polling Shows Voters Want Election Winner to Fill SCOTUS Vacancy

The People Want to Wait: Polling Shows Voters Want Election Winner to Fill SCOTUS Vacancy
(Chuck Schumer @SenSchumer / Twitter)

Most American voters, including half of Republicans, want the winner of the November 3 presidential election to name a successor to the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to recent polling data from Reuters/Ipsos on Sunday.

Conducted September 19-20, following the announcement of Ginsburg’s death, the national opinion poll suggests many in the U.S. object to Trump’s plan to push through another lifetime appointee to the Court, which would solidify a 6-3 Republican-leaning majority.

The poll shows 62 percent of adult Americans believe that the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the upcoming election between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Only 23 percent disagreed, and the rest said they were unsure.

Additionally, eight out of 10 Democrats and five out of 10 Republicans agreed that the appointment should until after the winner of the November election is announced.

These findings are not isolated—as recent Times/Siena polls of Maine, North Carolina and Arizona voters show they would prefer having Biden select the next Supreme Court Justice 53 percent to 41 percent. Similarly, a recent Fox News poll showed similar results: Voters surveyed nationwide trust Biden over Trump to nominate the next justice by seven points.

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In order to confirm a nominee, Trump needs the support of the Republican-majority Senate. Even with the support of most Republican senators, there could be trouble for Republicans ahead, as two Republican senators—Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski—have publicly announced they believe the winner of the election should make the nomination, following the announcement of Justice Ginsburg’s passing.

However, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “has vowed a vote” with only “weeks to go in Trump’s term.”

This is a subject South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham touched upon about 10 months out from the 2016 election following McConnell’s refusal to act on former-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia (even though voter sentiment favored Judge Garland at the time).

Both Sens. McConnell and Graham have since reversed their stance on the matter and have, once again, decided to blindly follow the whims of the president, no matter how hypocritical they may look.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,006 American adults, including 463 Democrats and 374 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Corinne Ahrens is a recent graduate of The American University where she studied Political Science with a specialization in Gender, Race, & Politics as well as Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Corinne has been writing for Ms. since October 2019 and is a former Ms. editorial intern. She currently works at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy in their Philadelphia office.