What Americans think about Ketanji Brown Jackson as her confirmation hearings begin

Linley SandersData Journalist
March 21, 2022, 5:47 PM GMT+0

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings to evaluate Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson — who previously served as a public defender and currently works on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. — would be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

A YouGov poll conducted March 17 - 20 indicates that, in the month since President Joe Biden nominated Jackson, more Americans have formed an opinion of her qualifications. A YouGov poll of U.S. adults on February 25 showed that 48% were uncertain of whether Brown Jackson was qualified, compared to 35% in a more recent poll of U.S. adult citizens.

The same polls showed that 43% of U.S. adult citizens now think Jackson is qualified, compared to 39% of U.S. adults in the February poll. About one in five (22%) citizens now say she is unqualified, compared to 13% of adults when Biden initially announced her nomination.

Americans are more likely than not to say that Jackson should be confirmed (41% to 25%) and that she will get the Senate’s approval (42% to 12%). Many Americans say they are unsure about both questions, but people with an opinion lean in her favor.

Many Democrats are cautiously optimistic going into the hearings for the first potential justice nominated by a Democratic president in six years: 73% say Jackson should be confirmed by the Senate while just 56% think she will be. Jackson will need a simple majority vote in order to be confirmed, which means she can be approved if all Democrats in the Senate support her nomination. While most Republicans either do not want Jackson confirmed or are unsure (17% say they do want her confirmed while 51% say they do not), they are more than twice as likely to say she will be confirmed (40% say she will be; 18% say she won’t) than to want her to be confirmed.

About half of Americans (47%) are uncertain of whether Jackson will be given a fair hearing in the U.S. Senate. Americans with an opinion are twice as likely to say the Senate will give Jackson a fair hearing than to say it will be unfair (37% to 17%). Republicans (52%) are more likely than Democrats (35%) and Independents (34%) to think the Senate will be fair.

— Ian Davis, Carl Bialik, and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

Related: Americans’ first impressions of Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s Supreme Court nominee

See the toplines and crosstabs from this YouGov poll

Methodology: This U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between March 17 - 20, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as news interest and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the entire sample.

Image: Getty

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