Poll: Catholic likely voters support Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination

CNA Staff, Oct 19, 2020 / 04:27 pm (CNA).-

Catholic likely voters support Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination as a Supreme Court justice by a nearly 20-point margin over those who oppose the appointment, according to a new poll released Monday.

Conducted Oct. 5-11 by RealClear Opinion Research in partnership with EWTN News, the poll surveyed 1,490 likely voters who self-identify as Catholic.

Forty-six percent said they support Barrett’s nomination, while 28% oppose it and 27% do not have an opinion, the poll found.

Support was divided among political lines, with 77% of Catholic Republicans supporting the nomination and 4% opposing, compared to 24% of Catholic Democrats supporting and 46% opposing.

Nearly 4 in 10 Catholic independents support Barrett’s nomination, with almost 3 in 10 opposing and about 1 in 3 saying they don’t have enough information to make a decision.

Fifty-seven percent of men surveyed said they support the appointment, compared to 37% of women. Fifty-four percent of white survey respondents said they support the nomination, compared to 40% of Black respondents and 32% of Hispanics.

Catholics who say they accept all of the Church’s teachings were significantly more likely to support Barrett’s nomination, with 74% saying they did, compared to 39% of those who say they do not accept everything that the Church teaches.

Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on September 26, to fill the vacancy created by the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democratic leaders have argued that Trump should not have nominated a replacement for Ginsburg so close to the presidential election, but should have waited to allow the winner of the election to make the appointment. Trump has responded by saying that his term is not over and an incumbent president has a responsibility to fill vacancies.

Forty-eight percent of Catholic likely voters said a president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year, while 43% said a president should wait so that the winner of the election can make the appointment, with another 9% saying they were uncertain.

Republicans overwhelmingly said that a president should fill an election year vacancy, with 8 in 10 agreeing, compared to about a quarter of Democrats and half of Independents who said the same.

Barrett’s Catholic faith has drawn significant attention since her nomination. Her faith was also in the spotlight during her 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination hearing in 2017, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told her, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

By a 2-1 margin, poll participants said they found the 2017 comment inappropriate, with 51% saying it was not appropriate, 26% saying it was an acceptable remark, and 23% unsure.

Among Republicans and Independents, more than 60% said it was an unacceptable remark, compared to 38% of Democrats who said the same. Older voters were more likely to find the comment inappropriate than younger voters were.

Almost 3 in 4 poll respondents said they support the constitutional provision that bars religious tests for public office.

Sixty-four percent said religion should not be a factor in confirming a court appointee. Majorities of Republican, Democrat, and Independent respondents agreed with this statement, as did majorities of both men and women, and poll participants from every geographic region of the country.

Barrett’s nomination has also sparked renewed speculation that the Supreme Court could revisit Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide.

Forty-five percent of poll participants said they believe Roe v. Wade should be upheld, while 25% said it should be reversed and abortion should be ruled unconstitutional. Eighteen percent said the issue should be returned to the states, and 13% said they were unsure.

Men and women answered almost identically in their opinions on Roe v. Wade. Black respondents were about twice as likely to say abortion should be ruled unconstitutional as white and Hispanic respondents were.


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