Data Opinion

Amy Coney Barrett is the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee in modern history

By Madison Ulczak

To me and to many Americans, Donald Trump’s late-term appointment to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, is the antithesis of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

A cultural icon, champion of women’s rights and of equality for LGBTQ Americans, there is no Supreme Court justice that has achieved the level of cultural status that RBG did. It could be that the late supreme court justice was an alum of my alma mater, or that I could count on her to fight for me and my rights as a woman. Regardless of the reason, I felt a connection (like I’m sure so many others did) to RBG. I was confident and comforted in having someone who would have my back and be in my corner sitting in the highest court in the land. Despite her age and knowing she had battled stints with cancer, her passing rocked me.

And now, President Trump’s nomination to fill the vacant seat with Judge Amy Coney Barrett threatens to dismantle much of the progress that RBG spent her life advancing.

In new polling, we set out to understand how voters are reacting to Barrett’s nomination. We find that Barrett is the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee since Robert Bork. Barrett’s unpopularity is even stronger than opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination in 2018.

To give a bit of history, Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1987 but ultimately rejected by the Senate due, in part, to his open opposition to civil rights and anti-choice views.

At the time of Bork’s nomination, Senator Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor with a strong condemnation of him, declaring:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

Sound familiar?

It should, as racism in America and a woman’s right to make decisions about her body still stand as central issues in our country’s political debates. It seems as 2020 has propelled us back to 1987 as both these topics, and more, have also risen during Barrett’s senate hearing, as the Judge has been described as “unashamedly Pro-Life” and openly against gay marriage.

Given her stance on these issues, we wanted to better understand perceptions of Barrett among voters whose personal lives may be directly impacted by her appointment to the Supreme Court. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Barrett’s favorability ratings plummet even further when you look at women (-12) and LGBTQ Americans (-14). Individuals who likely realize that Barrett’s position on reproductive rights and marriage equality stand in direct opposition of the views – and life work of the Champion they once had in their corner.

But despite the fact that a plurality of Americans oppose Barrett, Republicans are relentlessly forcing her nomination to go through the Senate before the election. With the election just over two weeks away, if confirmed, Barrett’s appointment would be, by far, the closest a Supreme Court appointment has ever happened to an election. This also comes at a time when just four years ago, in March of 2016, Republicans refused to vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. The Republican led Senate argued that the American people should have a say, and as it was Obama’s last term in office, the next president should make the nomination.

The argument to not fill a vacancy during an election year that the Republicans made four years ago seems to have disappeared, though. Regardless that 17 million Americans have already voted, and many for new leadership, the sentiment that the “American people should have a say” seems entirely lost. Forcing Barrett’s unpopular nomination, at a time of intense political divisiveness just weeks ahead of the election Republicans threaten to delegitimize the sanctity of the Supreme Court. An action that will result in Democrats having to take steps – should they win the Presidency and control in the Senate – to restore a non-partisan system.

Blog Post Opinion Politics

How Policy Matters

There is an old adage in American politics that people vote for character and values, not policies.

And while character and values may very well be the best way to position a candidate to win an election, policy is how the the consequences of our electoral processes impact our lives.

In new research from Marquette University, Philip Rocco examines the role that state budget shortfalls have had in encouraging premature reopening , and ascribes these decisions to the failure of the CARES Act to provide any meaningful relief to states or local municipalities.

Rocco’s research found that Holding all other variables constant, a shift in states’ revenue share derived from the income tax from 5 to 10 percent is associated with a 43 percent increase in the probability of reopening.”

Writing on the study in the American Prospect, David Dayen concludes:

If economic precarity played a role in reopening, and induced states to reopen early, then the CARES Act could have put states at ease by ensuring fiscal support. Nearly four months later, no such support has arrived, practically every state has reopened, and we have virtually the same level of outbreak we did then, completely wasting the lockdown. The CARES Act structure helped lead to that outcome. “This is, I think, very much the story,” Rocco said.

You can put on a partisan hat, blame it on Trump, blame it on idiots like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey. They certainly all were bad at their jobs. But you can’t discount that the CARES Act’s lack of fiscal aid nudged states to reopen early. We now have some evidence suggesting that to be true. And the effect of that was catastrophic.

The massive surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of premature reopening and the CARES Act’s indifference to state and local relief is but one example of how policy impacts our lives.

Another example is that 5.4 million American families lost health insurance during a pandemic, but because of a recession. Let that sink in.

And yet a third sits behind the backdrop of the protests that have rocked the country over the past two months since George Floyd’s murder. The “systemic” part of systemic racism isn’t just confined to the hearts and minds of Americans, it is has been turned into policy, and written into law – sometimes obviously, but other times more insidiously.

Policy matters. Elections have consequences, but policy changes lives and often continues long after the leaders we voted for retire from public life.  Americans who have committed to learning, listening and personal change as they rethink society in these tumultuous times should question not only what they think individually, but also the consequences of what we do collectively.

Opinion Politics

Dead Cat Bounce

The virus and the real economy are linked, and Americans have understood this from the start.

Blog Post Data Opinion

The Wisdom of Crowds: The Worst Is Yet To Come

Very little good news this morning.

U.S. COVID-19 cases set new daily record as the virus decimates the South & West.

And 1.5 million new unemployment claims were filed last week despite re-opening of many regions. That marks the 14th straight week with more than 1MM new jobless claims.

Our CSIP data suggests that a plurality of Americans believe the worst is yet to come regarding the virus, and a majority feel the worst is yet to come on the economy.

And they may be correct. The United States has not been able to contain the novel coronavirus even as other developed nations have.

Even more sobering – during the Great Recession unemployment in the US peaked at just under 8% – but took nearly 6 years to recover. We are currently at nearly 13% with no end to COVID-19 spikes causing ongoing disruptions to our economy in sight.

Data Opinion

The (New) New Rules for Corporate Activism

Today on Medium, WINS President Scott Kotchko writes that the outpouring of corporate support for the George Floyd protests represents a tipping point. We’re now all living in the era of Corporate Activism.

…But the era of Corporate Activism is different. It’s no longer about telling a story about purpose because you want to — it’s about taking real action because you have to

Scott’s perspectives are grounded in a career spent at the nexus of politics and corporate brand strategy, with a little help from our CSIP data:

Our research shows that on the issue of COVID-19 there is incredibly high support (85%) for companies to re-purpose aspects of their business to contribute directly to the fight against the virus as well as to make financial donations to COVID-19 relief organizations (82%). Despite this, fewer than 1 in 5 (16%) say the company they work for has done anything meaningful from a business perspective, and just 1 in 10 (11%) say their employer donated to a pandemic relief organization.

On the issue of systemic racism, police reform, and Black Lives Matter — Americans are even more attuned towards action and activism. Americans believe it is time now to finally deal with systemic racism (75%), that it isn’t up to minority communities to educate the rest of us (64%), that black people in America need more than allies, and it is time for others to roll up their sleeves and help (75%).

Blog Post Data Opinion

The Great Rethink

We’re entering the era of the Great Rethink.

Our initial natural response to the disruptions that have occurred during the COVID-19 era as been reactive. What will come next is different.

This era has wiped the status quo off of the face of the earth. Worldviews and ideologies that failed to hold up are being questioned.

Americans are increasingly rethinking the fundamentals of society, their own lives, and the political beliefs they hold.

The Great Rethink is about asking the bigger questions, it will define the next era, and it is taking place all around us.

The Great Rethink is not “how can I safely open up my office” it is “what is the future of work for my organization?”

The Great Rethink is not “how can I issue a generic corporate statement about something political” it is “how can we truly make a difference?”

The Great Rethink is not “how can we reduce police brutality” it is “what role should a police department play in our society and what do we need to do to go about building that?”

More to come…

Media Opinion Politics Video

CSIP & Election 2020 Roundtable

Matt McDermott joined a political roundtable to discuss the electoral implications of the multi-pronged crises currently barraging our country — including CSIP findings that suggest both the COVID-19 pandemic and protests in response to the murder of George Floyd have had significant negative repercussions on President Trump’s re-election prospects.