Opinions on Supreme Court confirmations, economy, terrorism and infrastructure

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    Judge Merrick Garland

    Judge Merrick Garland

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in American opinion.

    New polling shows that Americans are more likely to favor (52 percent) than oppose (29 percent) Senate confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court — essentially matching the average 51 percent in initial readings for the eight nominees Gallup has tested since 1991.

    Most of those who say “no” to Senate confirmation say it is because they think the next president should make the nomination. Few Americans know much about Garland.

    No new data since the Brussels attacks. Prior to the attacks, concern was up, but still below several domestic concerns including the economy and crime. Earlier polling has indicated that Hillary Clinton outperforms Donald Trump as the candidate who would best handle terrorism.

    Republicans nationwide remain more positive than negative in their views of Trump, with 55 percent viewing him favorably and 41 percent unfavorably so far in March. Republicans’ views of Trump have generally held steady — his image today is roughly where it was last July.

    Trump’s popularity among Republicans is roughly similar to where Mitt Romney was in February 2012 (59 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable), although fewer Republicans had an opinion of Romney four years ago.

    In March of election years prior to that, the eventual Republican nominee had much higher favorable ratings among his own partisans, with John McCain in 2008, George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996 all earning favorable ratings among Republicans in the 80 to 90 percent range.

    Strange bedfellows. Clinton, Trump and Bernie Sanders have all called for more spending on the nation’s infrastructure. It’s a call that plays extremely well with the public, who are all in favor, even when it is made clear that it will involve more spending of federal money.

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