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July 01, 2013 5:44 PM SCOTUS Reaction: Thumbs Up to Same-Sex Marriage and Affirmative Action; Thumbs Down to Evisceration of Voting Rights Act

By Ed Kilgore

The first poll (from USAToday) is now out weighing public reaction to the batch of major Supreme Court decisions last week, and they should provide a tonic to progressives. Support for same-sex marriage has now spiked to an unprecedented 55/40 margin. Even in the South, opposition has dropped below 50%, though it remains right up here at 68% among self-identified Republicans nationally.

Somewhat more surprisingly, support for affirmative action benefitting minorities bounced upwards to a 53/37 margin after major publicity over SCOTUS’ tightening of judicial guidelines for use of race-based criteria in college admissions. And respondents disapproved of the Court’s blow against Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act by a 49/40 margin, which may be a testimony to the quick reaction of voting rights advocates after the decision, given its highly technical nature and the relatively positive spin provided by many MSM observers. I’d like to think this finding would give pause to southern Republicans racing to exploit the decision by enacting voting restrictions that would have trigged Justice Department scrutiny when Section 4 was in place. But I’m not that naive.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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