Many Americans want the next Supreme Court justice to be a moderate

Jamie BallardData Journalist
September 23, 2020, 12:33 PM UTC

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday, and many are now thinking about who will follow in her footsteps on the Supreme Court. President Donald Trump has said he intends to announce the nominee for the next justice this coming Friday or Saturday, after Ginsburg’s memorial services have taken place. 

YouGov poll of more than 9,000 US adults finds that one-quarter (25%) of Americans say they think Ginsburg was very liberal, while a plurality (36%) think she was liberal. Fewer (17%) saw her as moderate, while fewer than one in 10 believed she was ideologically conservative.   

YouGov polling finds that some Americans may want a Supreme Court Justice who isn’t quite as liberal.  

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One-third (33%) say they think the nominee should be a moderate. One in 10 think the nominee should be “very liberal” while 19 percent think the nominee should be “liberal.” On the other side of the spectrum, 14 percent think the new Justice should be conservative and 10 percent think he or she should be very conservative.  

There are some unsurprising partisan splits: 49 percent of Democrats want the next Justice to be liberal or very liberal, while 61 percent of Republicans want him or her to be either conservative or very conservative. About four in 10 (41%) Independents want the next Justice to be a moderate.  

President Trump has also said that he intends to nominate a woman to fill Ginsburg’s seat. YouGov polling finds that 57 percent of Americans believe it’s important for Ginsburg’s successor to be a woman. Women (62%) are more likely than men (50%) to say it’s important.  
 

Democrats (76%) are more likely than Independents (51%) and Republicans (38%) to say it’s important that Ginsburg’s successor is a woman.  

Methodology: YouGov asked 9,091 US adults: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent death creates a vacancy on the US Supreme Court. Ideologically speaking, where do you think Justice Ginsburg fell?”” Ideologically speaking, where do you believe the Supreme Court nominee should fall?” and “How important, if at all, is it to you that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor on the Supreme Court of the United States is a woman?” The survey was carried out online September 21 – 22, 2020. Data were weighted on age, education, gender, race, and Census region to be nationally representative of adults in the United States.     

Image: Getty