Americans split on recent Supreme Court decisions

ABC News/Ipsos poll finds majority of American public believes partisan views drive Supreme Court decisions

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, July 2, 2023— In polling conducted June 30-July 1, 2023—just after the Supreme Court overturned affirmative action, struck down the Biden student loan forgiveness plan, and ruled in favor of a web designer seeking to deny services to a same-sex couple—a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds the American public is split on the decisions. Additionally, a majority of Americans (53%) say that they think Supreme Court justices rule mainly on the basis of their partisan political views, up 10 points from January of 2022.

Looking at each case, a bare majority of Americans (52%) approve of the decision to overturn affirmative action with a third (32%) disapproving. The majority includes majorities of both white (60%) and Asian (58%) Americans. Latino and Hispanic Americans are split on the ruling (40% approve vs. 40% disapprove), and the majority of Black Americans disapprove (52%).

Graph with the headline, "Americans split on recent Supreme Court decisions"

Underlying sentiments on affirmative action may include views on the relative challenges of different racial or ethnic groups to get into college. Most white Americans believe that people of all racial backgrounds have a fair chance to get into the college of their choice. Compare that to Black Americans, most of whom believe that Black people have an unfair disadvantage. Similarly, a significant minority of Latino Americans believes people of their ethnic group have an unfair disadvantage.

Public sentiment on the other two major Supreme Court decisions—striking down student loan forgiveness (45% approve / 40% disapprove) and denying services to same-sex couples (43% approve / 42% disapprove)—appears to be more strongly connected to partisanship with large differences between Republicans and Democrats. On denying services to same-sex couples, 68% of Republicans approve of the decision compared to only 15% of Democrats. A similar split exists on the overturning the Biden student loan forgiveness plan with 71% of Republicans approving compared to 17% of Democrats.

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted June 30 to July 1, 2023, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 937 adults age 18 or older with small oversamples among Black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents.

Two respondents were removed from the final data for refusing all of the survey items.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population. KnowledgePanel members receive a per survey incentive, usually the equivalent of $1 (though for some it is $2) in points, that can be redeemed for cash or prizes. A prenotification email for this study was sent prior to field. Panelists receive a unique login to the survey and are only able to complete it one time. No reminder emails were sent for this study.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, party identification, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, and race/ethnicity by education. The demographic benchmarks came from 2022 Current Population Survey (CPS) from the US Census Bureau. Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by Age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by Education (Some College or less, Bachelor and beyond)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.30. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. Sampling error is only one potential source of error. There may be other unmeasured non-sampling error in this or any poll. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Manager, US, Public Affairs