Trust in the federal government’s judicial branch has dropped to an all-time low, according to the results of the newest Gallup survey — and Republicans’ unhappiness with the Supreme Court is likely the reason.
Just 53 percent said they had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the judiciary’s ability to do its job. But in an indication of just how dissatisfied Americans are with the federal government’s direction, the judicial branch remains — by far — the most trusted of the three branches, as it has traditionally been.
For the executive branch, just 45 percent said they trusted its ability to do its job, while only 32 percent said the same of the legislative branch. Shortly after President Barack Obama took office, for example, 76 percent expressed trust in the judicial branch, 61 percent said they trusted the executive branch and 45 percent said they trusted the legislative branch.
The decline is most pronounced among Republicans and essentially unchanged among Democrats and independents (though nominally declined). Republican trust of the judiciary dropped from 59 percent to 42 percent compared to September 2014, likely a result of the Supreme Court’s two decisions this year that overturned same-sex marriage bans nationwide and again upheld a key provision of Obamacare.
As has been the case with Gallup’s poll dating back to 1993, a plurality of Americans (40 percent) described the Supreme Court as “about right” ideologically. But the share of Americans describing it as “too liberal” jumped from 30 percent to 37 percent in the last year. And among Republicans, it jumped from 51 percent to 63 percent.
Results from this survey came from Gallup’s Governance poll, conducted Sept. 9-13, which surveyed 1,025 adults nationwide with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.