Americans grade the Supreme Court: Most dislike Voting Rights decision

Liz Goodwin
Yahoo! NewsJuly 8, 2013
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Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn a key part of the Voting Rights Act, a cornerstone of the civil rights movement aimed at preventing racial discrimination at the ballot box.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 51 percent disapprove of the decision, with 15 percent undecided. Republicans are about equally divided on the decision, with large margins of independents and Democrats disapproving of it.

The Supreme Court ruled last month in a 5-4 decision that the federal government cannot pre-emptively reject changes to election laws in states and counties that have a history of discriminating against minority voters. The court ruled that the formula used to decide which states merit this extra scrutiny is based on decades-old turnout and registration data, which is unfair to the states covered under it.

The justices' decisions on gay rights are more popular with the public. Fifty six percent of respondents said they approved of the 5-4 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. A narrower margin of 51 percent of Americans said they supported the court striking down the 2008 ballot initiative Proposition 8, which means same-sex marriage will be legal in California. Most Republicans disapproved of both decisions expanding gay rights, with Democrats and independents backing them.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.