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CBS News poll: The next Supreme Court justice, Obama, and the economy

By Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, Jennifer De Pinto, Sarah Dutton

The U.S. Supreme Court

With an unexpected vacancy on the Supreme Court as a result of Justice Antonin Scalia's death, it's unclear if he will be replaced before the November election.

Forty-seven percent would like to see the next justice appointed by President Obama before the election in November, while nearly as many, 46 percent, would like to see the new justice appointed by whoever is elected in November.

Views are highly partisan: 82 percent of Republicans would like to see the next president appoint Justice Scalia's replacement, while 77 percent of Democrats want President Obama to make that appointment.

Approval of the Supreme Court has ticked up a few points since last year, and is now at its highest level since the question was first asked in 2012. Forty-nine percent approve, 37 percent disapprove.

Democrats are more apt to approve of the job the Court is doing than Republicans, although not by much.

The President

Americans continue to be split over the job President Obama is doing: 47 percent approve, (including 84 percent of Democrats), while 45 percent disapprove (including 86 percent of Republicans).

Forty-seven percent approve of how he is handling the economy, similar to last month. Forty percent now approve of the job he is doing handling foreign policy, his highest rating in nearly a year, though more Americans still disapprove (49 percent).

The Economy and Direction of the Country

Just under half of Americans think the economy is in good shape; slightly more think it's bad. Twenty-six percent think it's improving, 32 percent think it is getting worse, and 41 percent think it's not changing.

By about two to one, Americans see the country as off on the wrong track (62 percent) rather than headed in the right direction (31 percent).


This poll was conducted by telephone February 12-16, 2016 among a random sample of 2,007 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers.

The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus two percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

CBS News poll: The next Supreme Court justice, Obama, and the economy