A majority of swing state voters said the Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be filled by the winner of the upcoming presidential election, a CNBC and Change Research poll indicated Tuesday.
In Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all important battleground states, only 43% of respondents said Trump should get to nominate a successor before the election, with 52% opposed. Nationwide the opposition’s share grows to 57%.
A full 85% of respondents indicated the vacant seat was “at least somewhat important” factor in their vote, with Democrats placing greater emphasis: 74% of Democrats said it was either the most important or very important factor compared to 63% of Republicans.
Three of the swing states polled, Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina, will be electing senators this year come Nov. 3.
Whether or not the vacancy is filled depends on Senate approval, and whether lawmakers from those states would vote yes is likely to play a role in those states’ races.
Two Senate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a tight race, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have said they would not support a preelection vote, narrowing the Republican majority in the Senate to just 51-49. If one more Republican defects, Vice President Mike Pence would provide the deciding vote. A fourth GOP senator would need to defect to block the nomination process.
Two senators who were seen as on the fence, Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Cory Gardner of Colorado, said they would support moving forward.
“We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election. We’re going to move forward in the committee. We’re going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News Monday.
A Politico-Morning Consult poll indicated more extreme results, with only 37% of respondents saying Trump should fill the seat before the Election Day. Just 31% of independents said Trump should pick Ginsburg’s replacement now. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats said the winner of the presidential race should pick Ginsburg’s replacement, with 71% of Republicans opposed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said that he intends to pick a replacement before the end of the year, despite saying in 2016 that he would not fill an empty seat in an election year to deny Merrick Garland a spot on the court. The New York Times reports that it would be the first time in history a Supreme Court seat was filled so close to an election.
Trump’s likely pick is Amy Coney Barrett, who he met with over the weekend and has said in the past he’s “saving” for Ginsburg’s seat. Barrett is a religious conservative with strong views against abortion and the Affordable Care Act. Her ties to a religious group that practices patriarchal family structures and asks lifetime loyalty oaths from its members raised eyebrows after they went undisclosed during her selection hearing for her current position on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump says he plans to officially announce his shortlist this weekend following Ginsburg’s funeral.