A new Public Policy Polling survey of registered voters in six swing states — AZ, IA, NH, OH, PA and WI presents findings which are more interesting than the usual horse race polls. As the PPP memo on the surveys explains:
New Public Policy Polling surveys in 6 key battleground states where Republican Senators are up for reelection this year find that voters don’t trust Donald Trump and would rather have Barack Obama picking a new Supreme Court justice than him. As a result they overwhelmingly support hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and are inclined to punish the vulnerable Republican Senators who are holding up his selection.
…-Voters in all six states, by margins ranging from 5 to 23 points, say they don’t trust Donald Trump to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Voters in WI (34% trust Trump, 57% don’t) and in the home of Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley of IA (35% trust Trump, 52% don’t) are particularly skeptical of Trump’s ability to name a Justice.
That puts all of the hand-wringing about Hillary Clinton’s “trust” problem in context. Further, the memo states “voters in all six states clearly say that they *do* trust President Obama with the responsibility of making a Supreme Court selection, especially in contrast to Trump. In the key Presidential battlegrounds of Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin Obama has at least a 9 point advantage over Trump on that question in every state.
Poll respondents said they trusted Obama more than Trump for selecting the next Supreme Court justice by the following margins in each state: AZ+1; IA+10; NH+14; OH+11; PA+9; and WI +17. In addition, “More than 60% of voters in each of these states supports hearings for Garland, by margins ranging from 38 to 46 points. That includes overwhelming support from critical independent voters, and even plurality support from Republicans in 4 of the 6 states”
The PPP surveys indicate that Republican senators in these six states are in trouble — “5 of the 6 have negative approval ratings and the one exception, Chuck Grassley, still has his worst approval numbers in years with them coming in only narrowly on positive ground at 43/40. Voter unhappiness about obstructionism on the Supreme Court issue could be what flips all these toss up races into the Democratic column and gives them control of the Senate next year…”
One other thing serving as a drag on these vulnerable Senate Republicans is the unpopularity of their leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s approval rating is under 15% in all six states, and being tied to him has the potential to damage the political standing of the members of his caucus. His net approval ranges from -26 at best to -45 at worst in this set of states.
Gratifying though it is to see Mitch McConnell paying a price for his obstructionist “leadership,” there are as many as five other swing/battleground states, including FL, MI, NC, VA and ME, and some of them show close margins in the presidential contest and/or senate races.
But the margins in the six states of the PPP surveys are nonetheless impressive and indicate that the public is tiring of the GOP senate leadership’s obstruction of an exceptionally well-qualified nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Put that together with the fallout following Speaker Ryan’s refusal to allow votes on popular gun safety measures, and the GOP looks even more like an elitist political party that thwarts the democratic process to block even moderate progress.