In an era defined by sharp political divisions, it is difficult to find any national figure with much bipartisan appeal.
According to Axios, one exception to that trend is Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Chief justices ranks higher than others included in poll
A new poll indicates that Roberts is at the top of a list ranking a total of 11 prominent figures.
Not only was his approval rating the highest, but he was also the only individual to register majority approval from Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
Gallup pollsters conducted their “Top Federal Leaders” survey between Dec. 1-16 and contacted 811 U.S. adults for a report with a four percentage point margin of error.
Overall, the chief justice had an approval rating of 60% with 34% expressing disapproval. Broken down along partisan lines, Roberts received 57% approval from Republicans, 55% from Democrats, and 64% from independents.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was the only other figure included in the poll who even came close to Roberts while Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ranked at the bottom of the list.
Roberts appeals to moderates in both parties
Although the chief justice appears to attract an encouraging level of bipartisan support, the same apparently cannot be said for the nation’s highest court. A separate Gallup poll conducted in September found that the Supreme Court had reached a historic low 40% approval rating.
The survey included results from 1,005 respondents and came with a four percentage point margin of error. The court’s disapproval rating was 53%, which is the highest it has been in recent memory.
Courthouse News sought to determine why Roberts has defied that trend and came to a conclusion that, while possibly accurate, might not satisfy his critics on either end of the ideological spectrum.
Generally speaking, the chief justice is seen as an institutionalist who is deeply concerned about preserving the court’s legitimacy. Although he typically leans toward the right on most issues, he is less likely than other conservative justices to support positions that would upend prior precedent, opting instead for smaller incremental changes.
In essence, Roberts has become the de facto moderate swing vote on divisive issues that are argued before the court. Without deep ties to either the conservative or liberal wings of D.C. politics, his position clearly resonates with Americans aligned with the center.