The Mellman Group released the results yesterday of an online focus group conducted with 107 swing voters on the issue of John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court. While voters initially knew little about him, learning details about several specific briefs and decisions greatly increased their opposition to his nomination. Even before hearing about Roberts’ record, a majority of voters felt that a nominee who does not have 60 votes in the Senate should be withdrawn from consideration. Voters responded most strongly to the possibility that Roberts could change the court’s position on allowing HMO patients to get second opinions; after learning about Roberts’s similarities to Justices who opposed this ruling, 87 percent of participants were more likely to oppose Roberts’ candidacy.
The focus group also showed strong support for Roe v. Wade, as 87 percent of participants believed that it should remain in place, and 79 percent would oppose a nominee who stated their intention to overturn the decision. Roberts’ uncertainty about his membership in the Federalist Society and his unwillingness to answer questions about the right to privacy greatly increased their opposition to his nomination. By the end of the focus group, there was bipartisan opposition to Roberts’ nomination, with 86 percent of all respondents opposed. Support for a filibuster also skyrockets to 85 percent after hearing more about Roberts.
Leading women’s organizations commissioned the focus group, including the Feminist Majority; Black Women’s Health Imperative; Center for Reproductive Rights; NARAL Pro-Choice America; National Abortion Federation; National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association; National Partnership for Women & Families; National Women’s Law Center; and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.