Neil Gorsuch tops President Trump in public opinion polls

President Donald Trump's public-approval numbers may be sinking, but a new poll shows the public is giving the thumbs-up – mostly – to Neil Gorsuch, Trump's choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Long Island University poll released Monday found that 51 percent of the overall public approves of Gorsuch, a federal judge from Colorado whom Trump introduced to the nation Jan. 31. The poll, conducted from Feb. 3 through Feb. 6 of 855 registered voters, also found that 39 percent of the public disapproves of Gorsuch, a strict conservative, and 9 percent are undecided.

However, the public's opinion of Gorsuch, 49, breaks down by age, with just 36 percent of people ages 18 to 35 viewing him positively, and 49 percent who don't like him, according to the poll of 855 registered voters, conducted via text message. Fifty-two percent of voters aged 36 to 80 approve of Gorsuch, while 38 percent disapprove and 8 percent are undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

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Neil Gorsuch pauses as he speaks after taking the judicial oath during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch hugs his wife Marie Louise moments after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath during a swearing-in ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, April 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Judge Neil Gorsuch (C) and his wife Marie Louise look on, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Swearing in of Coloradan Neil M. Gorsuch as the newest member of the, United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit, with his wife Louise Gorsuch, holding the bible, and his two daughters, Belinda Gorsuch age 4, and Emma Gorsuch age 6.

(Denver Post Photo By John Prieto)

Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) and his wife Marie Louise look on, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Neil Gorsuch stands with his wife Marie Louise as U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump (L) and Louise Gorsuch (2R) watch as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administers a judicial oath to Neil Gorsuch during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Swearing in of Coloradan Neil M. Gorsuch as the newest member of the, United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit, with his wife Louise Gorsuch, holding the bible, and his two daughters, Belinda Gorsuch age 4, and Emma Gorsuch age 6.

(Denver Post Photo By John Prieto)

U.S. President Donald Trump steps back as Neil Gorsuch (L) approaches the podium after being nominated to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. President Donald Trump points to the audience after the swearing in of Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Robert Hoyt, left, General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury, is congratulated by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson as Judge Neil Gorsuch with the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, looks on in the Cash room of the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., Friday, January 5, 2007.

(Photo by David Scull/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Neil Gorsuch speaks after U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court as Gorsuch (R) stands with his wife Marie Louise at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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By contrast, Gallup's daily tracking poll Monday found that 40 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president so far, but 55 percent say they disapprove of his performance.

The poll comes as Gorsuch continues his meet-and-greet tour on Capitol Hill. Since his nomination, Gorsuch has followed a tradition of having informal, closed-door chats with senators who will hold hearings and decide if he should be confirmed to the high court.

Senate Republicans are thrilled with the nomination of Gorsuch, a staunch conservative whose record helps Trump keep a promise to fill the vacancy on the high court with Scalia's ideological twin. But Senate Democrats – still angry that the GOP linked arms, blocked former President Barack Obama from replacing Scalia and kept the seat open for a year – are itching for payback.

The party isn't unified, however: While some liberal senators have vowed to filibuster Gorsuch, others up for election in Republican-leaning states say the judge should get a confirmation vote, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said the party will fight "tooth and nail" any nominee they consider out of the mainstream.

At the same time, if the Democrats filibuster Gorsuch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky could deploy the so-called "nuclear option – use his power to strip Democrats of their right to block Gorsuch or any other of Trump's judicial nominees. But McConnell hasn't declared whether he'll use it, and Sen. Susan Collins, an influential Maine Republican, has said she opposes it.

Nevertheless, Gorsuch has impeccable credentials, including degrees with honors from Columbia, Harvard and Cambridge universities, and is said to be a brilliant writer. Those qualifications, coupled with the public's positive view of him so far, could make Democrats' calculations on whether to block the judge even more difficult.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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