Where do Americans stand on court packing? Here’s what polling shows
While there’s no new public opinion polling on what’s called “court packing” by opponents and “court expansion” by proponents, there were a couple of national surveys conducted last autumn, during the heat of the presidential general election campaign.
That’s when the issue was last in the headlines, following the death of liberal leaning Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the successful controversial push by then-President Trump and the then-Senate GOP majority to quickly confirm conservative leaning federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacant high court seat. Barrett’s confirmation – over the objections of Democrats – further entrenched the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.
Fifty-eight percent of likely voters questioned in a New York Times/Siena College national poll conducted Oct. 15-18, amid the general election and the fierce partisan battle over Barrett’s nomination, said Democrats should not expand the Supreme Court beyond its current nine justices, with 31% supportive of increasing the size of the court, and 11% undecided.
There was an extremely wide partisan divide in the poll, with Democrats backing court expansion by a 57%-28% margin, Republicans overwhelmingly opposed, 89%-6%, and independents also against, 65%-25%.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post national poll conducted Sept. 21-24, in the days immediately after Ginsburg’s death, 54% of Americans opposed court packing, with 32% supportive of expanding the number of high court justices and 12% unsure.
The partisan gap wasn’t as wide in the ABC News/Washington Post survey as it was in the New York Times/Siena poll. Roughly 6 in 10 Republicans and independents opposed increasing the size of the Supreme Court, with Democrats backing the move by a 45%-39% plurality.