If there’s a face besides Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s behind Republicans’ refusal to hold hearings on a President Barack Obama Supreme Court nominee, it’s Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Since Antonin Scalia’s death, polling has showed a majority of American voters don’t like the idea of Congress refusing to hold hearings. Iowans are no exception. A new poll conducted for End Citizens United PAC from March 7 through 9 and obtained first by Roll Call found that 58 percent of likely general election voters in the Hawkeye State believed it is the responsibility of the president and the Senate to fill the court vacancy now. According to the survey, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and Normington Petts and Associates on both land lines and mobile phones, 47 percent of Iowa voters said they were somewhat less likely to support Grassley after hearing that “Grassley has joined with other Republican senators in refusing to hold these hearings, effectively stopping the confirmation process before there is a nominee.” Among voters age 60 and older, 61 percent said they would be less likely to support Grassley.
Former lieutenant governor and agriculture secretary Patty Judge, who had resisted Democratic efforts to recruit her, entered the Democratic primary to take on Grassley earlier this month, criticizing Grassley for refusing to hold hearings on an Obama nominee. “They’ve all spoken out about this,” Grassley said on the Hill in early March, dismissing Judge’s criticism as a standard Democratic talking point.
Forty percent of Iowa voters said Grassley’s refusal to hold hearings would make them “somewhat more likely” to vote for him. His approval ratings remained high: 54 percent approved of the job he was doing, compared to 32 percent who disapproved, according to the poll.
And yet, nearly half of Iowa voters saw political expediency in GOP senators’ refusal to hold hearings. Only 38 percent believed that senators who have promised to block an Obama nominee “are trying to protect the rights of the American people to have a say.”
America Rising and the Republican National Committee are readying plans to go after Democrats , including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Senate challengers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida and New Hampshire, on any Obama nominee. The Judicial Crisis Network has already made a $250,000 advertising buy to go after Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jane Kelly of Iowa.
Getting to the crux of its existence , End Citizens United also surveyed perceptions of the Citizens United Supreme Court case in Iowa. A majority of voters (69 percent) didn’t know what the decision was, but after hearing a description of the ruling (“this decision changed federal law, allowing for unlimited spending by corporations, trade groups and unions to support or oppose individual candidates, and made it easier for these entities to keep their donations anonymous”), 71 percent gave it an unfavorable rating.
The poll surveyed 500 likely general election voters statewide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
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