Speed Reads

Minority Rule

U.S. confidence in Supreme Court plummets to record low, Gallup finds

Only 25 percent of U.S. adults have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Supreme Court, a drop of 11 percentage points from 2021 and 5 points before the previous low, hit in 2014, Gallup reported Thursday. The findings come from Gallup's annual survey of confidence in U.S. institutions, conducted June 1-20 this year, and while "many institutions have suffered a decline in confidence this year," Gallup says, the Supreme Court's 11-point plunge "is roughly double what it is for most institutions that experienced a decline."

Gallup suggests the sharp drop in confidence is tied to abortion and the leaked opinion that suggests the Supreme Court's conservative majority is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the federal legal right to abortion. "Americans oppose overturning Roe by a nearly 2-to-1 margin," the polling firm notes. "The Supreme Court is likely to issue one of its most consequential rulings at a time when public confidence in the institution has never been lower."

But Gallup also released its finding on the same day the Supreme Court's six conservative justices threw in doubt a whole range of gun restrictions — and Gallup separately found this month that support for stricter guns laws jumped 14 points over the past year, to 66 percent of U.S. adults.

Whatever prompted the drop in confidence, it bifurcates along partisan lines. According to Gallup, "confidence in the Supreme Court is down by double digits among both Democrats (30 percent to 13 percent) and independents (40 percent to 25 percent) this year, but it is essentially unchanged among Republicans (37 percent to 39 percent)." Nina Turner, a former Ohio lawmaker, lays out part of the Democratic case for voting no confidence, beyond any particular ruling. 

For context, confidence in the Supreme Court averaged 47 percent between 1973 and 2006 and never dipped below 40 percent, Gallup said. "Since 2006, confidence has averaged 35 percent and has not exceeded 40 percent in any survey."