A majority of Americans say they would be less likely to vote for President Donald Trump if his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, helps overturn Roe v. Wade—a move she’s previously expressed support for alongside doubts the court could ever fully reverse the landmark abortion ruling.
More than half of likely U.S. voters are critical of Trump’s Saturday nomination of Barrett, a vehement conservative with past comments critical of both abortion and the Affordable Care Act. A new survey conducted by The New York Times and Siena College finds 56 percent of Americans from all political affiliations would have preferred the upcoming November 3 elections to serve as a referendum on the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat. Nearly two-thirds of women agree the nomination should be pushed back and just 41 percent of Americans overall want Trump’s nominee confirmed before the election.
Barrett’s stance on abortion laws have come under scrutiny amid the divisive nomination process, but 56 percent of Americans surveyed said they would likely vote against Trump if his nominee assists in dismantling Roe v. Wade.
The longtime practicing Catholic and Notre Dame University professor has addressed her stance on abortion in several past lectures and law review pieces. During a 2013 Notre Dame lecture on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, Barrett said: “I think it is very unlikely at this point that the court is going to overturn [Roe v. Wade]…The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand.”
Speaking Sunday on Fox News, the president said it’s “certainly possible” Barrett may seek to dismantle national access to abortion should she be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“She is certainly conservative in her views, in her rulings, and we’ll have to see how that all works out but I think it will work out,” Trump told Fox & Friends Weekend when asked if she’d be part of a 6-to-3 conservative-liberal ruling “on a life issue.”
“It’s certainly possible. And maybe they do it in a different way. Maybe they’d give it back to the states. You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Trump added.
Less than one-quarter of Americans—24 percent—said they would be more likely to vote for Trump if his nominee seeks to legally dismantle abortion access across the country. Sixty percent of Americans in the September New York Times/Siena College poll said abortion should be “always or mostly legal,” while one-third of Americans said abortion should be “always or mostly illegal.”
Fifty percent of Americans said they trust Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to “do a better job” of choosing a Supreme Court justice, compared to 43 percent who said the same of Trump.
In 2016 remarks, Barrett again said individual states may be able to restrict and regulate access to abortion procedures—but that even a conservative-stacked Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn Roe v. Wade in one fell swoop.
“I don’t think abortion or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change … The question is how much freedom the court is willing to let states have in regulating abortion,” Barrett said.
More than half of The New York Times/Siena College poll respondents, 56 percent, said they want the Supreme Court nominee to be appointed by the winner of the November 3 election.
But Senate Republicans can perhaps look to take advantage of Americans remaining evenly divided on whether the upper chamber should act immediately on Trump’s Saturday nomination. Forty-seven percent of Americans said the Senate should move to confirm Barrett, while 48 percent said the Senate should not. Five percent are still undecided, but women and independent voters are still strongly against filling the seat until it’s clear whether Biden will take office or Trump will receive four more years.
Biden has a major advantage among all Americans with a college degree, although his share of support among white women with a college degree is nearly twice that of the president’s. Among white men with college degrees, Biden still holds a 50 to 45 percent advantage.
Newsweek reached out to representatives for Barrett and the White House Sunday morning for additional remarks.
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