June 4th, 2009
11:54 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Americans back Sotomayor by 2 to 1 margin

(CNN) – A new national poll suggests that by a margin of greater than two to one, Americans approve of President Barack Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fifty-five percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday say they support the Sotomayor nomination, with one in four opposed and one in five not sure. The poll was conducted over a seven-day period starting on May 26, the day Obama announced his high court nomination, and appears to be the largest survey conducted so far on the subject.

The poll indicates that Democrats overwhelmingly approve the nomination, independents favor it 53 percent to 26 percent, and Republicans oppose it 47 percent to 30 percent.

"Since her nomination nine days ago, her level of support with the American people has been constant," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "This is an indication that criticism from some conservatives and Republicans has not struck a chord with voters - at least not yet."

The survey suggests Americans are split when it comes to Sotomayor's legal qualifications vs. the federal appeals court judge's views. Forty-six percent of those questioned say senators should only consider Sotomayor's legal qualifications in deciding whether to confirm her, with 44 percent saying senators should consider her views on such issues as affirmative action and abortion.

There's a partisan split on this question, with a majority of Democrats responding that only Sotomayor's qualifications should be considered in the confirmation process, and a majority of Republicans questioned in the poll saying that the judge's views on issues should be considered.
If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor would become the first Hispanic or Latino justice on the Supreme Court. The poll indicates that one-third of Americans say that was a very important factor in the president's nomination of Sotomayor, with one in three say it was somewhat important. One in ten feels it was not too important and 17 percent say it was not important at all.

A majority of those questioned say Sotomayor's legal qualifications for the job are more important than making the Supreme Court look like the rest of the nation in terms of race, religion, ethnicity and gender. Only 8 percent indicated that legal qualifications are less important, with three in ten saying they are equally important.

Sxity-two percent of Americans approve of the U.S Supreme Court, the highest approval ever measured in a Quinnipiac survey.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted May 26-June 1, with 3,097 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Her confirmation should be over with quickly no matter how long the republican senators try to hold it up.

    June 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Jon in CA

    Seriously – why the polling??

    Does Obama and the democrats REALLY care what polls say?? America is going to get Sotomayer rammed down our proverbial throats regardless.

    72% of Americans consistently poll against late term abortion. Do you see Obama backing off his anything-goes abortion stance??

    June 4, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. carlo

    The GOP doesn't care about poll numbers. Fox is #1, that's all that matters to them, while they lose one election after the next.

    June 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Don

    Now is this not a riot? Depends on who you poll don't you think?

    June 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. B.H.

    The GOP is only about NO. They will pay the price again in 2012.
    They just don’t get it , and until they do, they will remain irrelevant!

    June 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Unhappy Dem

    They did not poll me!!!!

    June 4, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Melissa

    Its quite amazing that the Republicans had a fit about Obama's qualifications and now they don't want to consider Sotomayors qualifications. Guys, you can't have it both ways. Its called being "two faced".

    June 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Pepper from CA

    There have been a zillion polls now. The percentages are different among them. However the common element is that by whatever percentage Sotomayor the majority back her confirmation.

    I suspect that Dems and the GOP understand that the majority (whatever the percentage) would like to see her on the bench or risk their own confirmations by the voters in the next election rounds.

    June 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Patiently waiting for someone on this post to cry, "What?? I never got polled! Nobody called me! This poll is bogus! blah blah blah...."

    Count on it.

    June 4, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. dominican mama 4 Obama

    All you have to do is read. don't take cnn's or fox's interpretation of the news. Seek your own enlightment, and you'll see that there's no legtimate reason for this woman not to be on the SCOTUS.

    June 4, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. LIP

    For all those poll voters that put Sotomayer over the top, read Abigail Thernstrom's comments on CNN's web site. You may change your minds. In fact, I think you will change your minds.

    June 4, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Luke Brown

    She's in. It's all over but a final fitting for her robes. (Sonia, splurge and get the really nice ones. You've earned it., you wise Latina you.)

    Hey GOP, keep reminding Americans how bad she is for our country ... and how out of step you are with our country. GOP = Bridge to the 18th Century.

    While you are at it, tell your Republican bosses in Minnesota they lost the Senate race last fall. Every day they try to keep Franken out, they remind the voters just how far your party is willing to go to thwart the will of the people. Coleman's holding out for a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Bush-style. Sheesh!

    June 4, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. J.P.

    Well, that's great. But public opinion polls are not how SCOTUS nominees are appointed the high court.

    I think its time we mandate a Civics 101 refresher course for all voter registrants.

    June 4, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. DaBird

    The people in this poll must be the same people who believe all of Obama's lies.

    June 4, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Candy West Virginia

    SHe's more qualified than any of the sitting judges. But she happens to non white and we know lush, hannity, newt, cheyney and their insane followers can't stand that.

    June 4, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Anne Larsen

    Obviously, the right wingers care about only one thing–keeping a latina out of the Supreme Court. In the past few years, the GOP has become a crazy, Hispanic-hating party. What's the deal? Why do conservatives hate Hispanics? If they're not trying to ban people from speaking Spanish, they're out there shooting children with the Minutemen. Enough!

    June 4, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Statistics Professor

    This is Yellow Journalism.

    The headline is grossly misrepresentative of the statistics. The respondants do not support the nomination "2 to 1." The statistics provided in the article itself say only half of respondants support her. The title should read "1 in 2 Americans back Sotomayor"

    In addition, CNN's language is loaded. They have presented supporters as a majority percentage "55%" while splitting non-supporters into subgroups to sound smaller. They further relegate non-supporters as a verbal fraction "one in four" so readers don't mentally compare the two groups.

    This is loaded and irresponsible writing.

    June 4, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California June 4th, 2009 12:23 pm ET
    Patiently waiting for someone on this post to cry, "What?? I never got polled! Nobody called me! This poll is bogus! blah blah blah…."
    Count on it.
    ------------------–
    And I imagine you WERE polled, right?

    June 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Alfred E. Neumann

    A poll simply reflects the positive reporting presented by liberal outlets such as MSNBC & CNN.

    To be fair: the conservatives have their Clarence Thomas and the liberals will take full ownership of Sonia Sotomayor.

    June 4, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    Anne Larsen June 4th, 2009 12:44 pm ET
    Obviously, the right wingers care about only one thing–keeping a latina out of the Supreme Court. In the past few years, the GOP has become a crazy, Hispanic-hating party. What's the deal? Why do conservatives hate Hispanics? If they're not trying to ban people from speaking Spanish, they're out there shooting children with the Minutemen. Enough!
    --------------------–
    Wow! Absolutely ridiculous! So the GOP hates Hispanics.. I guess then you have never heard of Alberto Gonzales or Mel Martinez? Or are they just tokens? Understand the GOP is not challenging her race but instead her ideals! Who is banning people from speaking Spanish? It is way obvious that you have no clue about what you are talking about! Yours is just an emotional, uneducated rant that cannot be taken seriously!

    June 4, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Linda /Michigan

    No one hates Sotomayor because she's Hispanic.
    They hate her for being a blatant racist. How can anyone with good conscience deny the white firefighters their promotion because no one of color passed the exam?

    June 4, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Waiting for the confirmation hearings myself. Any bets on which senators ask the tough questions and which ones throw the softies?

    June 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    The Supreme Court, and Congress for that matter, should reflect the American ethnic distribution. Balanced voice for all.

    Besides, there are nine voices on the Supreme Court, not just one.

    June 4, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Char

    The republicans should not be allowed to hold up her confirmation, we all know that are trying to on purpose. Sen Sessions or what ever his name is should be the last one to say anything...aren't there some racial issues with him also?

    June 4, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Vince

    The government is never, ever your friend. Unless you are a freeloading loser.

    June 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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