Two new polls of Ohio and Pennsylvania revealed that voters are outraged over the Republican plan to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The anger is so strong that it could cost the GOP incumbent Senate seats in both states.
-Strong majorities of voters- 58/35 in Ohio and 57/40 in Pennsylvania- think that the vacant seat on the Supreme Court should be filled this year. What’s particularly noteworthy about those numbers- and concerning for Portman and Toomey- is how emphatic the support for approving a replacement is among independent voters. In Ohio they think a new Justice should be named this year 70/24 and in Pennsylvania it’s 60/37. Those independent voters are going to make the difference in these tight Senate races, and they have no tolerance for obstructionism on the vacancy.
-Voters are particularly angry about Senators taking the stance that they’re not going to approve anyone before even knowing who President Obama decides to put forward. By a 76/20 spread in Pennsylvania and a 74/18 one in Ohio, voters think the Senate should wait to see who is nominated to the Court before deciding whether or not to confirm that person. Toomey and Portman are out of line even with their own party base on that one- Republicans in Pennsylvania think 67/27 and in Ohio think 63/32 that the Senate should at least give President Obama’s choice a chance before deciding whether or not to confirm them.
-This is an issue that really does have the potential to make Portman’s and Toomey’s lives even harder this fall if they don’t change their tune. In both states the numbers are identical- 52% of voters say they’ll be less likely to vote for either Portman or Toomey this fall if they refuse to confirm a replacement for Justice Scalia no matter who it is, compared to only 25% who say taking that stance makes them more likely to vote for them. In both cases the numbers reinforce how perilous it is with independents for Portman and Toomey to take the position that they’re not confirming someone no matter what- in Ohio 59% of them say that makes them less likely to vote for Portman to just 15% more likely, and for Toomey it’s 55% of independents less likely to vote for him based on that stance to only 24% more inclined to support him.
Pat Toomey and Rob Portman Will Be On The Path To Defeat If Republicans Obstruct Obama Supreme Court Nominee
If Senate Republicans cave to the conservative activists who are calling for Obama’s nominee to be blocked at all costs, they will be setting themselves up to lose two Senate seats in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The bad news for Sens. Toomey and Portman suggests that the Republican decision to preemptively block any Obama Supreme Court nominee could influence the presidential election in critical states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Republicans have badly bungled their handling of the vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia, and if they stick to their politically unpopular plan, polling suggests that their Obama obstruction will cost them their Senate majority. The bad polling for the potential obstruction in Ohio and Pennsylvania could be the canary in the coal mine warning Republicans that their scheme to block Obama’s nominee might cost them the White House.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association