Even while the Court itself loses some esteem among the broader public, support for its core holding in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen has remained high.
A new Marquette University law school poll released Wednesday found 64 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court finding that “subject to some restrictions, the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” Meanwhile, just 36 percent of adults said they oppose the decision.
The poll also identified a substantial intensity gap between supporters and opponents of the decision. Forty percent of respondents, the largest single share, said they “strongly favor” the Court’s ruling. By contrast, only 15 percent of adults, the smallest share, said they “strongly oppose” it.
The results suggest the general public has embraced the idea of legitimate gun carry for law-abiding adults. Its findings are remarkably stable from a similar poll the university conducted in November of last year, just months after the Bruen decision was officially handed down. That poll found a nearly identical split among supporters and opponents of the decision, though it found 4 percent fewer respondents who were strongly in favor. The consistent results in favor of a constitutional right to gun carry suggest that recent legislative actions by several states impacted by the Bruen decision to try and evade it may be out of step with what a majority of the American people want.
Overall, the poll found majority support for the Court’s Bruen holding across nearly every demographic.
Both Republicans and Independents were overwhelmingly in favor of the decision, at 88 percent and 73 percent, respectively, while just 40 percent of Democrats said the same. Males (70 percent) were ten percentage points more likely than women (60 percent) to say they favored the decision. Respondents aged 45-59 were the most likely age group to support it (68 percent), while those aged 60 and older were the least likely (61 percent). Along racial lines, 68 percent of white respondents said they favor the decision, compared with 63 percent of Hispanics and 58 percent of black respondents.
The popularity of the Court’s opinion in its latest landmark gun case ruling stands in stark contrast to its overall approval. The poll found that 57 percent of respondents disapproved of the job the Court is doing, while just 43 percent approve. That’s down 4 percent from the beginning of the year when 47 percent reported being happy with the Court. The Court was last above water in the poll back during March 2022.
Nevertheless, the poll found that the American people have not entirely soured on the institution. 65 percent of respondents still said they have at least some confidence in the Court.
The Marquette Law School’s national Supreme Court survey was conducted between September 18th and the 25th. The survey interviewed 1,007 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points.