The U.S. Supreme Court has been the most trusted branch of government among voters for more than a decade -- and while that still holds true, faith in the court is now near its lowest. In addition, the number saying the executive branch is their most trusted stands at a new low.
When asked which of the three branches of government they trust the most, 35 percent of voters choose the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the latest Fox News Poll. That’s down from 45 percent in February 2017. A record-low 33 percent chose the court in June 2005 (the first time the question was asked on the Fox News Poll).
The executive branch is chosen by 18 percent, down from 26 percent two years ago.
Thirteen percent pick Congress as the branch they most trust, that remains unchanged.
The poll, released Wednesday, was conducted before the partial government shutdown ended January 25.
Confidence in the Supreme Court is down across groups, with some of the biggest shifts coming from Democrats (down 30 percentage points since 2017), millennials (-21), and women (-15).
For the executive branch, declines come from independents (-22), white evangelical Christians (-13), and voters ages 65+ (-10).
Among Republicans, there’s been an 11-point increase in the number choosing the Supreme Court, while faith in the executive branch dropped 8 points.
Since President Trump took office, he has had two justices confirmed to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
So where do voters pledge their allegiance if not the judicial or executive branches?
Ten percent are unsure which branch they trust the most, up seven points since 2017. Another 10 percent say “mixed,” up from 2 percent.
As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to recover at home from a December surgery, the poll finds she’s the best-liked member of the court, at least for those who can name a favorite.
When voters were asked to pick their favorite justice currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, Ginsburg takes top honors with 18 percent. The next is the newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with 6 percent. The remaining justices are at 4 percent and below.
Republicans select Kavanaugh as their favorite (14 percent) followed by Clarence Thomas (8 percent), Neil Gorsuch (6 percent) and, Ginsburg (6 percent). Republican women (15 percent) are a touch more likely to name Kavanaugh than GOP men (12 percent).
One-third of Democrats (32 percent) choose Ginsburg, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor (6 percent) a distant second. Thirty-eight percent of Democratic women say Ginsburg compared to 24 percent of Democratic men.
Overall, 22 percent couldn’t name any of the current Supreme Court Justices.
Those voters least likely to name a justice were under age 45 (32 percent), independents (29 percent), earning under $50,000 (29 percent), and white evangelical Christians (28 percent).
Thirty-eight percent either don’t have a favorite justice or were unsure.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,008 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 20-22, 2019. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.