The State of State Courts: A 2020 NCSC Public Opinion Survey

State of State Courts Pandemic

A national public opinion survey conducted for NCSC in early June 2020 reveals the following findings:

Two out of three people are receptive to appearing in courtrooms remotely—a significant increase from 2014, when only two out of five said they were receptive.

  • Over half of all respondents cited at least one pandemic-related obstacle to reporting for in-person jury duty, such as serving as a primary caregiver to an elderly family member; an inability to secure childcare for an extended period; or living with someone who has an underlying health condition.
  • At least 70 percent of respondents said they would be more comfortable in a courthouse if courts enforced social distancing, checked temperatures at the door, and required court employees and visitors to wear masks.
  • Answering a question about whether respondents would be more comfortable serving on juries in person or remotely, 44 percent said remotely, 32 percent expressed no preference, and 23 percent said in person.

If you want to go beyond the highlights, we invite you to explore these additional resources:

  • The pollster, GBAO Strategies, breaks down the survey into granular detail. Access the analysis here.
  • Review the presentation slides, which dive into additional details including public trust in the courts and data collected on respondents’ access to technology tools
  • Watch our June 18, 2020 webinar featuring NCSC’s Jesse Rutledge, GBAO’s Karl Agne, David Slayton from the Texas Office of Court Administration and Nicole Zoe Garcia from the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County

The poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted using a mixture of telephone interviews and online surveys. Respondents were contacted conducted between June 8-11, 2020. Findings are considered accurate within +/- 3 percent, 19 times out of 20. The survey was developed by GBAO, with input from an advisory body of judges, court professionals and NCSC staff.