The State of State Courts: A 2018 NCSC Public Opinion Survey


For the fifth consecutive year, NCSC contracted with GBA Strategies to conduct a comprehensive public opinion survey of 1,000 registered voters in order to gauge current levels of public trust and confidence in the state courts.  

The survey was conducted by telephone between November 13-17, 2018.  Survey findings are considered accurate within  +/- 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Key findings of the 2018 survey include:

  • Confidence in state courts is the highest since the start of the State of the State Courts series.
  • Views on cash bail are fluid, but after hearing messages for reforming the system, the public strongly believes that judges should base pretrial release decisions on factors other than ability to pay.
  • A majority say they are unprepared to represent themselves in court—yet alternatives to hiring a lawyer are only modestly popular.
  • Certain case types lend themselves to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) while others may not, and the public sees pros and cons to ODR generally.

For more detail on the survey findings, read the six-page summary from GBA Strategies, or download the presentation slides. Interested in a presentation on these survey findings? Contact Jesse Rutledge.