A plurality of swing-state voters approve of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll conducted in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The survey, released Wednesday, found that a majority of voters in those states would like the Senate to at least consider Garland's nomination.
In Florida, voters approve 51 to 33 percent of Garland as the president's choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who died at a West Texas resort in February. Sixteen percent said they did not know. Ohio voters voiced their approval 47 to 33 percent (20 percent did not know). Among Pennsylvania voters, Garland had the approval of 52 to 29 percent, with 19 percent remaining unsure.
A majority of voters in these swing states also believe that the Senate should give Garland a hearing and consider his nomination -- a position contrary to what many Republican senators have promised. Fifty-four percent of voters surveyed in Florida want the Senate to consider Garland, compared to the 40 percent who would not want the upper house to take action (6 percent did not know). In Ohio, voters wanted the Senate to move forward with Garland's nomination 56 to 38 percent (6 percent didn't know). And among Pennsylvania voters, 58 percent wanted to consider Garland compared to 37 percent who wanted to wait until the next president could fill the bench (5 percent were unsure).
The question of Garland's nomination has already seeped into at least one swing state Senate race. Sitting Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is running for re-election, has said he would like to wait for the next president to pick the next Supreme Court justice -- a decision that has 30 percent of voters saying they would be less likely to vote for him in November. According to the Quinnipiac poll, 18 percent are more likely to support Toomey over the issue, while 51 percent of Pennsylvania voters say it will not affect their vote.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,051 Florida voters, 1,042 Ohio voters, and 1,077 Pennsylvania voters from April 27-May 8. The margin of error for each state was 3 percentage points.