Congress and the Supreme Court should be able to work from home

May 08, 2020, 6:30 PM GMT+0

Many Americans are now working from home, and it appears they are willing to let parts of the federal government do the same thing. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll shows most Americans – Republican and Democrat alike – in support of the legislative and judicial branch running remotely.

Support on both these questions is nearly the same. Although a majority of Republicans support remote working for both branches (50% and 54%), Democrats are even more supportive (72% and 71%). So are those who have started working from home because of the pandemic. Two-thirds of those Americans who have had to start working from home because of coronavirus say, by nearly identical margins, that Congress (67%) and the Supreme Court (66%) should be allowed to do the same thing.

Congress is usually distrusted by many Americans. This poll is no exception. Fewer than one in four Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job. Republicans, whose party controls the Senate, are most supportive: 35 percent of them approve of how Congress is performing.

One-quarter (24%) of Democrats, whose party controls the House of Representatives, and only 13 percent of Independents agree. In this poll, Congress gets lower marks for its handling of coronavirus than Americans give the President. Fewer approve of Congress’ performance than approve of the President’s handling of the coronavirus; more disapprove of Congress.

On both questions, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to approve.

The Supreme Court’s remote court hearings, which began last week, meant the hearings could be streamed live for anyone who wanted to listen (which had not happened before). It’s a change that most Americans support. But just as on questions about working remotely, even more Democrats than Republicans approve the change.