Democrats, Republicans Open Huge Rift on Their Opinions of the Supreme Court

There's been a 17 percentage point approval drop among Republicans and a 29 percentage point increase among Democrats since September, Gallup says.

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A March 12, 2015 photo shows the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court is an increasingly polarizing force among Americans of different political parties, according to the pollster Gallup.

In a poll conducted July 8-12, only 18 percent of Republicans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing, while 76 percent of Democrats do. Respondents offered their opinions after the court upheld tax credits under the Affordable Care Act and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in late June.

That was a 17 percentage point drop among Republicans and a 29 percentage point increase among Democrats since September. The results mark the most polarized views of the court by party in 15 years, according to Gallup.

Overall, Americans approve and disapprove of the court in roughly equal numbers, 49 percent to 46 percent.

The partisan divide has seen big swings over the years, and the pollster said the current breakdown may not last for long. 

“Clearly [opinions] could shift if the Supreme Court issues another major ruling on a politically divisive issue that pleases Republicans, which in the next term could be invalidating the use of race as a factor in college admissions,” Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones wrote.

Gallup polled 1,009 people by phone. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points. 

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