More than 60 percent of Americans think the Senate should vote on President Donald Trump's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy before the November midterm elections, according to a new poll.
An NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll conducted between June 27 and July 1 revealed that 62 percent of respondents think the Senate should either confirm or reject Trump's pick before the midterms. On the other hand, 33 percent think the Senate should wait until after the elections.
Most Republicans and independents—85 percent and 61 percent, respectively—want the Senate to vote on Trump's nominee before the midterms. However, 55 percent of Democrats don't want a vote until after the elections. Republicans currently hold a slim 51–49 majority in the upper chamber of Congress, meaning that by waiting until after the elections, the GOP risks losing control of the Senate.
The poll's results run counter to the message top Democrats have pushed in recent days—that the Senate should wait until a new Congress is seated before voting on Trump's nominee. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) said on the Senate floor last week that Republicans "should follow the rule they set in 2016, not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year." He added that "millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president's nominee, and their voices deserve to be heard now."
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D–Ill.) expressed similar sentiments, as did Sens. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.). However, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has indicated he wants to move quickly to vote on Trump's nominee.
I interviewed 4 very impressive people yesterday. On Monday I will be announcing my decision for Justice of the United States Supreme Court!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2018
Americans are sharply divided along partisan lines regarding what kind of justice they want on the Supreme Court. A majority of Republicans—65 percent—want Trump's nominee to be conservative, while 63 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats think he or she should be moderate.
The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll also gauged Americans' opinions on whether or not they want Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion at the federal level, to be overturned. With the retirement of Kennedy, who, in the landmark 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, joined the plurality opinion upholding Roe v. Wade, many people are predicting that Roe could be overturned. According to the poll, though, 61 percent of Americans think Trump's nominee should uphold the 1973 ruling.