Poll shows Ohioans want court seat filled

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Survey shows Portman with low approval


A new poll of Ohio voters finds that a sizeable majority wants the Senate to fill a vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court this year.

President Barack Obama has pledged to nominate a justice to fill the position left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to oppose confirmation hearings for a replacement until after the president’s term has ended.

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The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling from Feb. 19-21, found that 58 percent of voters wanted the Senate to fill the seat this year, with 35 percent opposed.

The poll showed that 74 percent of voters feel the Senate should wait to see who is nominated before deciding on confirmation, while 18 percent oppose.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R- Ohio, has opposed filling Scalia’s seat on the court until after the presidential election.

“We are in the midst of a presidential election and a vigorous debate within both political parties on the direction of the country, with the election less than nine months away,” Portman said in a statement released last week. “I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment that could reshape the Supreme Court for generations.”

The survey found Portman suffering from low approval ratings, with 30 percent approving of the job he is doing in the Senate and 39 percent disapproving.

Portman is seeking re-election to a second Senate term. He is expected to face former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in the general election.

The survey found that 52 percent of voters said they would be less likely to vote for Portman if he refused to confirm any nominee, while 25 percent said they would be more likely to vote for him.

PPP was ranked first in accuracy of the 2012 elections by Fordham University. The poll of 612 Ohio voters has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent and was commissioned by Americans united for Change, a liberal advocacy group.