The U.S. Supreme Court’s favorability rating fell below 50 percent for the first time in almost three decades of Pew Research Center polling, driven by a drop in black support after rulings on minority rights.
The nationwide survey found that 48 percent of all those responding had a favorable impression of the court, with 38 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. That’s down from 52 percent support in March, before the court issued the highest-profile rulings of its term, and from 80 percent in 1994, when the court’s popularity peaked.
The decline in support was especially acute among blacks, 44 percent of whom have a favorable impression of the court, down from 61 percent in March. Support among whites was at 49 percent, the same as in March.
Last month the court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, struck down a core provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark law that opened the polls to millions of Southern blacks. In addition, the court tightened the limits on university affirmative action programs, telling judges to give those policies closer scrutiny.
The court also cleared the way for same-sex weddings to resume in California and overturned a federal law that denied benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
The poll, conducted July 17-21, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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