The headline on CBS' SCOTUS favorability poll grabs the eyes, because it reports that more liberals view conservative Chief Justice John Roberts favorably than do his fellows on the right. But looking at the numbers, it's apparent that the real story here is that most Americans are "Undecided/Don't Know" when asked about the Chief -- 73% (yes, nearly three quarters!) of Americans have no opinion on him, or don't know who he is. Unfortunate, but not terribly shocking, I suppose.
The Chief is most popular among moderates, and clearly, his stock has fallen in the conservative crowd thanks to his ruling on the Affordable Care Act. But again, most notable is that three quarters of the country doesn't have an opinion:
Now, I won't delve into my usual this-is-why-we-need-better-civics-education-in-America spiel, but...this is why we need better civics education in America. It's a little shocking that three quarters of Americans polled don't know enough to have an opinion on the Chief Justice, isn't it? Heck, we see it all the time in Jay Walking, when Leno has someone ask unsupecting people on the street if they can name even one SCOTUS Justice -- and more often than not, they can't. So when the Court makes a momentus decision, as it did with the ACA, most Americans are encountering the Justices' names for the first time. That is sad. [end rant]
As for the results showing liberal's love affair with Roberts, don't expect that to last. This fall, the issue of affirmative action will come before the bench once again, and as Roberts has already made his position clear on that issue in the past, it's a safe bet he'll side with the right wing of the Court to strike down the policy.
Meanwhile, CBS also asked about how the healthcare ruling will affect people's votes, and the results reveal that sure enough, SCOTUS' opinion did a better job of galvanizing support for Romney than for Obama:
The Court's ruling did little to affect public perception of the healthcare law, however: indeed, the majority of the country still disapproves of the law, and wants either all or some of it repealed:
Still, the court's ruling does not appear to have changed overall opinions of the health care law very much: more still disapprove than approve of the law. Overall, 50 percent of voters said they disapprove of the law, 36 percent approve.
As to what Congress should do about the health care law, a third of Americans say it should be kept as is or expanded, 27 percent think only the individual mandate should be repealed, while 34 percent would like Congress to repeal the entire law.
So the upshot here: Americans don't like the law, and the Supreme Court's decision made people more willing to vote for Romney over Obama, but at the end of the day, no one really knows who John Roberts is. Whomp.
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