In any other year, the Supreme Court would be background noise to the campaign. This year, however, with Justice Scalia’s passing and a vacancy left on the court, Donald Trump pushed the issue of Supreme Court appointments as a centerpiece of his outreach to conservatives.

According to CNN’s 2016 exit polling, 21% of voters cited the Supreme Court as the “most important factor” driving their vote. Within that group of “SCOTUS Voters,” a solid 56% of them voted for Trump, just 40% for Clinton. See the charts from CNN:

Chart 1:
Supreme Court Trump Exit Polls

In general, Trump voters felt the court overall was more “important” than Clinton voters:

Chart 2:

The edge is just a 4 point gap between Clinton and Trump voters who say SCOTUS was “important,” but from the first chart, it appears that Trump voters were more driven to actually vote based on this issue versus Clinton supporters.

Part of this is a little shocking because many items on the progressive agenda have been avdanced through the courts. Specifically big items like abortion rights and same-sex marriage were eventually decided by the Supreme Court. Perhaps the recent battle over marriage left Democrats feeling pretty good about their cultural victories that the prospect of voting for Hillary simply to ensure a left-leaning court wasn’t enough to drive turnout or enthusiasm.

ABC News found similar numbers:

Nationally, 21 percent of voters call appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court “the most important factor” in their decision, preliminary exit polls indicate. (Though President Obama did put forth a nominee, the Supreme Court seat vacated when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in Feburary, remains open.) These voters overwhelmingly favor Trump, 57 to 40 percent.

In some of the closer states like Michigan or Pennsylvania, this could have been a deciding issue that did indeed help propel Donald Trump to the presidency. He certainly hammered the issue more than Hillary did, though it’s not as if she was silent on the matter either.


    • Except Republicans won’t even fulfill their constitutional duty and hold a hearing. They’d much rather play partisan games

      • Is it just a constitutional duty when the Republicans don’t hold a hearing? Didn’t the Democrats do the same thing?

  1. It will be really hard to analyze polls this year, since both candidates scared the Bejesus out of us. So you almost have to read the polls backward.

    We kept hearing, over and over, during the campaign, that conservatives didn’t want to vote for Trump, but had to, because of the Supreme Court. That’s the real reason it was a greater issue on the GOP side.

  2. While all change isn’t bad, change for change sake has gotten far too many people dissatisfied with the changes coming from the Supreme Court.

    Conservatives far more than Liberals have seen the SCOTUS change the way of life of the majority to accomodate the few. Undoubtedly this conservative trend will swing back the other way, but for now and depending on who is appointed to the SCOTUS and how young they are, this conservative trend may extend for the next several decades.

    • Then there’s choosing Roberts expecting him to be always with the conservatives. Yet he allowed the ACA act to become law. Why?

  3. Hey I’m a student that has to do a research paper. I decided to do it over the new president or the election. Anybody got good suggestions?

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