how things change
September 28, 2020

Republicans see this year's Supreme Court fight differently than they did in 2016. Americans do too.

When former President Barack Obama moved to fill an election-year Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, a Monmouth University poll found 73 percent of voters said the nominee, Merrick Garland, should get a hearing. But this time around, Monmouth found just 53 percent say President Trump's nominee Amy Coney Barrett should be considered.

Trump formally nominated the conservative 7th Circuit judge on Saturday to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democratic senators have universally said they don't believe Barrett should get a hearing, and most have said they will vote against her nomination because of it. Democratic voters largely agree with their strategy, with just 31 percent saying the Senate should hold hearings to consider Trump's nominee and 67 percent saying they should not, the Monmouth poll found. Meanwhile 73 percent of Republicans say the Senate should hold the hearings, and 60 percent of independents agree.

Back in 2016, the party split on SCOTUS nominations looked pretty different. More than half — 56 percent — of Republicans said Garland should get a hearing that year. Still, Garland's nomination came in March, more than seven months before Election Day, while Barrett's came five weeks before. Garland was also considered a moderate candidate, while Barrett's record has been compared to the conservative Antonin Scalia's.

Monmouth surveyed 809 registered voters via landline and cell phone from Sept. 24–27, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Kathryn Krawczyk

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