Poll: Confidence in Supreme Court at record low
June 30th, 2014
11:08 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Confidence in Supreme Court at record low

(CNN) - The same day the Supreme Court issued a high-stakes ruling on a controversial part of President Barack Obama's health care law, a new national survey indicates confidence in the high court is at a record low, as Americans' trust in all three branches of government has fallen.

The release of a Gallup poll Monday coincides with the high court's decision that the government can't require that closely held companies pay for some types of contraceptives for its employees.

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Americans' confidence in the Supreme Court stands at 30% in the survey - the lowest since 1973 when Gallup started tracking confidence in the institution.

Its highest ratings came during Ronald Reagan's presidency. In 1988 and 1985, confidence in the Supreme Court stood at 56%. That number dropped significantly (to 34%) in 2007, during President George W. Bush's second term.

Confidence in all three branches of government fell in the last two years on Bush's presidency. When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, those numbers saw a spike.

But now, confidence in the executive branch is the lowest it's been in Obama's tenure as commander in chief. Six years into his presidency, just 29% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in his elected office. Compare that to the more than half (51%) of respondents who expressed confidence in presidency at the start of his first term.

Congress, which holds consistently lower ratings than the Supreme Court and presidency in Gallup tracking, also hit a record low in Monday's survey. Only 7% of respondents expressed confidence in the legislative branch.

The high court's ruling on a controversial part of Obama's healthcare law marks a legal and political setback for the White House has it tries to implement the President's sweeping health care initiative. In ending its nine-month term, the justices also ruled Monday to narrowly limit the power of labor unions to collect dues for collective bargaining from some home health-care workers.

The Gallup poll was conducted from June 5-8 among 1,027 adults contacted by telephone. The sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Filed under: Congress • Supreme Court • White House
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    No surprise there. Considering they've decided to legislate from the bench (Citizens United for example) they should be subject to term limits and impeachment.

    June 30, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Poll – Confidence in Supreme Court at an all-time low.
    Poll – Congrssional approval at an all-time low.
    Poll – Obama approval ratings at an all-time low.

    Poll – American stupidity level at an all-time high.

    June 30, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Gunderson

    Aw, So,
    When 4 out of 9 vote against the Constitution what do you expect? The Constitution isn't hard to understand, except for Liberals and Democrats.

    June 30, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. rs

    Interesting numbers. My confidence in the SYSTEM remains high inasmuch as we know that no one ruling (even by the Supremes) is permanent- and that is the magic of how it was all designed. Yes, right now, with a hyper-conservative court we are getting wacky, and improbable decisions- like Citizens' United, and Hobby Lobby and others. This is literally legislating from the bench. Seriously? Money=Free Speech or Religious belief trumps rights of workers of different beliefs? Crazy. Conservatives seem genuinely happy when confidence in the system falls- it fits their "see, government doesn't work" meme. The thing they need to remember is this: the pendulum swings both ways. Today's wacky ruling will be the seed of tomorrow's legal change.

    June 30, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Winning

    Short version: as soon as conservatives control it, the public at large hates it. They only survive at all as a political force by gerrymandering.

    June 30, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Silence DoGood

    It is a sad day when our government favors a sect of one religion or the profit of a few corporations over the tights and general welfare of people.
    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
    ~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

    June 30, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Le

    It it what it is and most conservatives don't love it either especially after Obamacare. But its been and good today and its not even noon yet. Any day that hurts the jack booted union is a good day and here is to shopping at Hobby Lobby – hahaha.

    June 30, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    It's a mostly conservative court. Is it really any big surprise that people have no confidence in it being fair?

    June 30, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Dallas

    The court has become so right wing radicalized that I fear for our country in the years to come unless we get some more moderates or liberals on the court. Scalia and Thomas are so far out of touch it's frightening and falling right along with them are Roberts and Alito. I fervently hope President Obama will get to appoint another justice before he leaves office and it's a replacement for either Scalia or Thomas!

    June 30, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. jinx9to88

    I wonder why!!! Corporations are people right SCOTUS? What a joke!!

    June 30, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Americans' confidence in the Supreme Court stands at 30% in the survey – the lowest since 1973 when Gallup started tracking confidence in the institution."

    Gotta love American politics: American media: American politico's. When one side obstructs, they whole country loses. Big time.

    Hi-ho. Off the cliff we go.

    Rah. Rah.

    June 30, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. sonny chapman

    When I was a young Hippie-Wanna Be, the Conservatives said we were gonna Destroy America. We all grew up, went to Work, raised kids & paid taxes. I now fear for the Future of our National Democracy- from the Right. Citizens United, Fox News & Congressional Gerrymandering may prove to be too much for A Nation to handle.

    June 30, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Take Your Hands Off of My Body

    This Supreme Court has been bought and paid for by the Republican Party. It is no longer a place where the average citizen will find justice.. The majority on this court (little "c" intended)are simply the minions of the Republican Party.

    This Supreme Court ruling also gives the nation perfect insight into the Republican male's mind, attitude, and spirit. Women are nothing more than something that is owned by them, and the women who have sex with them, marry them, align themselves politically, socially, and morally with them are bought and paid for.

    Speaking of "bought and paid for", never again will I purchase anything from Hobby Lobby.

    June 30, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. jboh

    The conjobatives on the court are surrendering what G.Washington won, and giving it back to the Tories. Of course they have low approval. Scalia is no more than a pompous egotist, Alito is an immature brat. Thomas is doing what he was picked to do, act like TEA/GOP streotype of an affirmative action hire who rubber stamps Scalia. Roberts is a corporate/royalist. All would be sanctioned if SCOTUS had to follow the same ethics requirements as the rest of the Fed. Judiciary. One step closer to serfdom for all empoyees.

    June 30, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. guest

    the neocons wanted the named golden dawn but it was already taken by a different party, so they settled on something else

    June 30, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Matt

    To the extent that this poll is true, it is only so because the Obama Era has made so many people into moochers, that they get mad when the Court says that some entity does not have to give them something.

    June 30, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Gary

    It's a good day for Hobby Lobby. All those republicans heading there as we speek to buy all that Chinese made junk for 3 times the cost as Walmart. Just to honor the decision.
    Just wait a couple months and you will find it all at your neighbors yard sale.

    June 30, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Matt

    Assuming this poll is right, it is only because the Obama Era has produced so many moochers that they get mad when a Court says somebody else is not required to give them what they want.

    June 30, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Rusty

    This article could give someone the mistaken impression that Americans are reacting to today's Supreme court decision with low ratings of the Supreme Court. Not so. This Gallop poll was conducted before this decision was made: "Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 5-8, 2014." The public has come to these conclusions for other reasons.

    June 30, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. tom l


    Do you see what they're doing here on this hardcore right wing site that's just like fox news? Are you going to make a comment about how this article just happens to appear the same day as 2 major rulings against the administration and liberals come out? Come on now, big guy. A little consistency.

    June 30, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. plantiful

    This is what happens when you have Supreme Court Justices attending meetings of ALEC and the Koch brothers.

    From SourceWatch: (CNN does not allow references, apparently):

    "Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have attended these [Koch] events. (According to Salon, "Thomas claimed he just made "a brief drop-by" at the Koch brothers' January 2008 Palm Springs political retreat to give a talk; in fact he was reimbursed for four days of “transportation, meals and accommodations” by the Federalist Society.")"

    June 30, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    The public KNOWS when the government has turned against the public.........and has become criminally corrupt. That time is now.......so of course the public has lost all confidence, in all branches of the government. Rightly so, I might add.

    June 30, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. rick3807

    The American people are the losers in the political money wars. The Congress, SCOTUS and POTUS all worship at the throne of the money gods. Is it really a surprise that the majority of folks don't trust them? Right now, the Right has more money in the game, so they are buying the most influence. The Left will try and play catch up and the only winners will be the consultants and the media.

    June 30, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Dean

    Obama's poll numbers are the most deserving.

    June 30, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |