May 29th, 2009
12:58 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Majority approve of Sotomayor nomination

According to a new poll, 54 percent of Americans approve of Sonia Sotomayor as President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

According to a new poll, 54 percent of Americans approve of Sonia Sotomayor as President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans approve of President Barack Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Fifty-four percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Friday approve of Obama's choice, 24 percent disapprove and 22 percent are undecided.

In a Gallup poll conducted in the hours after Tuesday's nomination announcement, 47 percent of those questioned said they rated Sotomayor as an excellent or good choice for the high court, with one in three respondents saying she is a fair or poor nominee. One in five had no opinion.

The Quinnipiac University survey suggests that Democrats overwhelmingly back the Sotomayor nomination, and that Republicans oppose it by a 46 percent to 26 percent margin.

The poll also indicates that nearly six out of 10 women back the pick, with 18 percent of the women questioned opposed. Forty-eight percent of men questioned say they approve of the Sotomayor nomination, with 31 pecent opposed.

If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor would become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. A third of those polled say that's very important, 36 percent feel it's somewhat important and one in four say it's not very important.

But by a much larger margin, those questioned do suggest that Sotomayor's background was a major factor in her nomination.

"Seven in 10 think that Judge Sotomayor's Hispanic heritage played a big role in President Obama's decision to nominate her," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

As for the pending confirmation process: 47 percent of those questioned say senators should consider only Sotomayor's legal qualification in deciding whether to support her nomination, while 43 percent say senators should consider her views on such issues as abortion and affirmative action.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted May 26-28, with 1,438 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. single mom

    I have a few concerns with her that I'd like addressed before deciding or judging.
    1. Why does she feel a Latina could make a better decision? (her statements at Berkelely)
    2. Why does she not feel that those with the highest test scores deserve a promotion? (New Haven lawsuit involving firefighters denied promotions because they were white/Hispanic)
    3. Will her 'empathy' cause her to make a decision that goes against the Consitution? (Pres. Obama's introductory remarks)
    People with the appropriate education and JOB experience to be a judge should make decisions based on facts, not ideological beliefs.
    Those who score higher on a FAIR exam are the ones who should be promoted regardless of race, gender, creed or anything else.
    The Constitution should be the litmus test for all judicial decisions. Judges are supposed to decide based on EXISTING laws and the Constitution, not on their FEELINGS.

    May 29, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. SJ

    Exellant choice for Supreme Court..we need more diversity as our country is certainly deversified. As for the top political speakers referring to her as racist....did they just crawl out from under a rock???
    I am the same age range as them and surely by now I know that we need to move on and view things with out blinders...obviously they never got past the 'white male' in that out of context. Scarey thing is that alot of people hang on their words of wisdom or rather I see it as words of BS...a large majority of republicans in the Senate and Congress cannot seem to get on the band wagon for the forward positive movement of our country...where are their positive suggestions to resolve our problems....the republicans have surely let our country down!!!!!

    May 29, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. ThinkAboutIt

    I like her as a pick for nominee, but will reserve my final judgment after the confirmation hearings. I strongly suggest the Senate do the same.

    May 29, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Bob

    I disapprove. My reasons are my own and so blatantly obvious.

    So, don't even try to say its "racist". Oh, and by the way: Being a Racist is not illegal. Only provable actions are.

    So there's a count of One. Who's with me.....................?

    May 29, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Polls of people unfamiliar with the work of Judges and Justices, or the details of the candidate's troubling statement on her cultural bias, are meaningless. They confirm the same sort of bias and prejudice based on ignorance which should be no part of the Senate's deliberations.

    May 29, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    You really gotta wonder what's going on behind the scenes for the GOP that they can look at numbers like these and then just blithely continue to dig their own grave.

    Gingrich: "hey Mike, you see those poll results?"

    Mushmouth: "yeah man, we're doing great...let's ramp up the rhetoric...people are just loving our criticism of Sotomayor"

    Gingrich: "indeed...I'm gonna go call up a news outlet and tell them I think she's a racist AND an anti-semite this time"

    Mushmouth: "good plan brosef...that's a surefire way for us to win more voters for 2010...meanwhile, I'll reassure Amurika that we're being "fair""

    Gingrich: "nice call...they won't know whether they're comin or goin"

    Seems about right...

    May 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Scott

    It is a shame that the process of appointing judges to the Supreme Court has become politicized. It forces Presidents to make slections that are either so boland that no one can object or such political powder kegs that no one will object.

    May 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Marv

    Racism is an attitude and they dont change fast sometime never. It is simply raising its ugly head because people of color are gaining some status in our society. White people have a problem. You brought black people over here to be slaves to work and sometimes bear your children.White men wrote a constitution that says evrybody is egual under the law, blacks were taught to read and we said that meens us to. Civil Rights laws were passed and signed by a white man guaranteeing us certain rights.
    You brought over hispanics here to work for nothing immingrration laws allowed children children of illegal parents to be citizens they are getting educated now voting. Now what do you do buy guns to shoot us and latinos because you feel threatened. A friend of mine once said most white people are stupid.Maybe there is some truth to that.

    May 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. SLM

    A poll of 1,400 voters is hardly a realistic poll. Tired of these fake polls trying to convince us. Confirmation of anyone Obama wants is inevitable. Dems are running loose bankrupting our country with all this rampant over spending. Take a close look at California and this is what will happen to the country................we are bankrupt!

    May 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    Do the dems have no shame ? Bite the hands that protect them. Of course, they won't bite the hands that feed them... Cool Aid.

    True or False. We didn't get another attack in our homeland for seven and a half years. Did we ?

    Use your brain. You think al Qaeda people gave up their guns, and they work as cab drivers now ? Please look at today's Pakistan. The terrorists were just stopped at the front gate.

    May 29, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    Repugs opposed to Sotomayor are closed-minded bigots who don't even give her a chance to make her case at the confirmation hearings. Sotomayor is a legal scholar! There is no coherent, rational reason for opposing her. Unless all you care about is keeping Rush happy.

    May 29, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. R in Maine

    Cheney is going to learn Spanish and buy a subscription to a tanning salon.

    May 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. abby


    After three months on the job, President Obama continues to be widely popular.

    That is according to a new poll released today by Gallup that shows Obama's approval rating at 65%.

    President Obama's approval rating has stayed relatively consistent - and high - since he was sworn into office in January. He started out with a 66% rating and dropped temporarily to 62% in March.

    That puts Obama into a select group of presidents whose approval ratings have increased from February to May of their first year in office.

    Since World War II, only three first-term presidents - Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan - have had a higher average approval rating in May of their first year.

    In recent years, declining approval ratings have been the standard. George W. Bush's rating dropped four points from February to May, and Bill Clinton's dropped nine.

    May 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. BETH

    And once again the Republicans are not with the majority!! Go figure!

    May 29, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. RWE

    most people don't follow politcs and don't know what is going on. i stead of confessing ignorance, they always support things they don't know about it.

    count me in the 24% who disapprove. she is a bigot.

    May 29, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. CJ

    One of the ugliest women I have ever seen.

    May 29, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. AJ

    I'm not either for or against Judge Sotomayor but I do have to ask, do the folks answering these polls really know anything about the judge or are they approving or disapproving based solely on race, gender or nominating party? I find it difficult to believe that the general public knows enough about an obscure Federal Appellate Judge to be able to formulate a reasonable opinion one way or the other.

    May 29, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. John

    There you have it, Republicans. Since you are so out of touch with what the majority of the country wants, go ahead and whine and wail about Sotomayor. It would be par for the course.

    May 29, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Gaston

    Excellent choice Mr President!!!!!!!!! America is proud of Sonia Sotomayor-

    May 29, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Lisa in Shelton CT

    Currently serving Justices made very similar statements about their heritage helping them be better judges but being Republican nominees, this was not so scary. Her qualifications are impeccable – but I expect several of Rush's voting sheeple will continue to spew petty lies to their own eventual party of NONE!

    May 29, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. shucks

    Of course they approve. They wanted change. It seems that the real problem for the republican party is that they don't know the meaning of the word change. Change is treating all Americans equally no matter what their sex, age, religion, race, and sexual orientation. It is not an American right to discriminate in the name of religion, or because your faith says so. Until all people in America can say they are equal and have the same rights as all other Americans, then America can't lift one finger to any country regarding human rights violations. The severity of the human rights abuses is not in question. The fact that in America we are still fighting for the rights of some of our citizens to be treated equally is pathetic and diminishes our hand in denouncing all aspects of human rights abuses.

    May 29, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Mike in San Antonio

    “I would hope that a wise White male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life.”

    “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

    If the top one is racist, so is the bottom one. Period.

    May 29, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. J.P.

    Yeah, when did the "majority" approve of this? During the viewing hours of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or So You Think You Can Dance?

    How many of the "approving 54 percent" could actually name all three branches of government as laid out in the Constitution?

    Media Credibility Fail.

    May 29, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Dawn in Pa

    She would be confirmed, no doubt about it.

    May 29, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. MD

    This poll is premature. There is a reason for the confirmation process, and that is it gives the public a chance to hear the candidate explain her views about her role as a SC justice.

    On the issue of her ethnicity and gender, I cannot remember much discussion about race when a president nominated a white male. If there has been an attempt to acknowledge the evolving racial landscape in the country by nominating a Hispanic female, then we should applaud the president for his sensitivity.

    However, to imply that gender and ethnicity have been a major factor in nominating Judge Sotomayor is foolish.

    May 29, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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