Nearly two-thirds of Ohio voters want confirmation hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a new statewide survey of Ohio voters by Public Policy Polling released earlier this morning. Portman is following Senate GOP leaders who argue the seat should be filled by the next President.
A whopping 65 percent of respondents support confirmation hearings, and just 21 percent of those surveyed agree with Portman that the nominee should be rejected without any consideration. The remaining 15 percent were not sure.
The telephone survey of Ohio voters occurred from April 26-27.
Since the Feb. 13 death of Antonin Scalia, polls have shown a growing majority of voters support confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, the highly acclaimed Head Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals who was nominated by President Obama on March 16 to fill the vacancy.
Legal scholars from both major parties, law school professors and deans, and every major Ohio newspaper have urged Portman to stand up to party leaders and urge hearings and an up or down vote on Judge Garland’s nomination.
The delay in filling the vacancy affects several important Supreme Court decisions, including final action on Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a major immigration case and a Texas case on the constitutionality of new abortion restrictions similar to ones now in place in Ohio.
PPP did not ask about the abortion or immigration cases, but they did ask about the federal EPA’s plan “to address climate change by placing limits on the amount of carbon pollution from power plants.”
About 41 percent “strongly favor’’ the limits, 20 percent “somewhat favor” them, totaling 61% favorable; 16 percent “strongly oppose’’ them, 15 percent “somewhat oppose’’ the limits and the remaining 7 percent were “not sure.”
Despite strong support for the Clean Power Plan and growing concern over climate change, Sen. Portman voted against it and sided with Tea Party Republicans who lined up with the fossil fuel industry.
Growing opposition to Portman’s obstructionism comes as his disapproval rating is rising, too.
When asked “Do you approve or disapprove of Sen. Portman’s job performance,’’ just 32 percent said they approve, 40 percent disapprove and 28 percent are not sure.
Interestingly, Portman’s high unfavorability rating can’t be attributed to general unhappiness with Washington.
Ohio’s senior Senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, is viewed favorably by 42 percent of those surveyed and unfavorably by 33 percent. The remaining 24 percent are undecided.
Portman faces a strong challenge from former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland this November. PPP showed the contest between Portman and Strickland locked in a dead heat with each receiving 38 percent of the vote, if the election were held today. The remaining 23 percent were undecided.