July 10th, 2009
09:28 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Do Americans want Sotomayor confirmed?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just three days before the start of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, a new national poll indicates that by a narrow margin, Americans would like the Senate to confirm her as the next Supreme Court justice.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday morning, 47 percent of people questioned would like to see the Senate vote in favor of Sotomayor's confirmation, with 40 percent opposed and 13 percent unsure.

Sotomayor, a New York federal appeals court judge, was nominated by President Barack Obama in May to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

The poll suggests a partisan divide, with nearly seven in 10 Democrats supporting Sotomayor's confirmation, Independents split, and nearly two out of three Republicans opposing Senate confirmation.

"Republican opposition to Sotomayor's confirmation is a higher level of opposition from the party out of power than any Supreme Court nominee has faced
in the past two decades," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Only 32 percent of Republicans opposed Ruth Ginsburg's 1993 nomination by President Bill Clinton to the high court, Holland said.

"In 2005, when it was the GOP's turn to appoint justices, only 35 percent of Democrats opposed John Roberts, and 46 percent of Democrats opposed Samuel Alito the following year," Holland said. "And even when Bush nominated Harriet Miers, opposition among Democrats to her confirmation hit only 53 percent."

The poll also indicates that Americans are split over whether senators are justified in voting against Sotomayor based solely on her stand on the issues.

Americans seem to agree that the confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which begin Monday, could turn into a partisan battle.

Six out of 10 said a major fight between Democrats and Republicans will occur, with 38 percent saying that the hearings will be a relatively easy process with bipartisan agreement.

The percentage of those who would like to see Sotomayor confirmed in the CNN poll is lower than in other national surveys released in the past few weeks.

"One possible reason why the CNN poll shows less support for Sotomayor than other recent polls is a difference in the question wording," Holland said.

"Polls by other organizations have described Sotomayor as Barack Obama's choice for the Supreme Court. But in order to make historical comparisons, the CNN poll used a question dating back to 1987 that does not mention the president's name."

Americans can be swayed by a familiar name - in this case Obama - when questioned about someone who has not been in the public eye, Holland said.

"Some of Obama's popularity may have rubbed off onto Sotomayor in polls conducted by other organizations," Holland said. "Ultimately, however, Supreme Court nominees rise or fall on their own merits."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey was conducted from June 26 to 28, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Shane McGuire

    Do I want her confirmed?

    Heck no!

    The last thing this contry needs is another Pro-Gun Control Judge on that panel.

    The issue is not more Gun Control, its actually finding a Judge with enough guts to use the existing laws to properly deal with the crimes.

    Enacting more laws does nothing except create criminals out of law abiding citizens.

    My point?

    They are systematically removing your rights. Its not just about Gun Control, its about "Adjusting the Constitution" to their whims and opinions.

    My own Mom does not advocate the use of a firearm. However, as she states, she does not want anyone taking that right away should she change her mind in the future, or be in a situation where she actually needed a firearm, then was bound by law and was unable to obtain one.

    What I would like, is for her to place in writing that she will not enact any new legislation, but be willing to use the existing legislation to place these jokers behind bars and keep them there.

    July 10, 2009 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  2. skyhawkdriver

    This is a bad choice by the president..the dumming down of the supreme court will continue with this choice who has shown her bias in numerous decisions while sitting on the bench of the lower courts..if you read some of her decisions they read as if written by a 6th grader..we are all well aware of the recent over turning of her decision regarding the new haven firefighters....I don't believe the president picked the best judge but bowed to pressure to picked a hispanic female..it is sad that political correctness has invaded the highest court

    July 10, 2009 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  3. Mitchell from MS

    Bad news for her... but I guess her experience as a wise latina already told her that.

    July 10, 2009 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  4. proud army navy mom

    yes, anybody is better than thomas, scalia, roberts....

    July 10, 2009 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  5. Sandra Day

    How come CNN uses terms like "narrow margin," in the headlines when there is 7 points in her favor. But, when talking about Obama's approval ratings, CNN uses terms like "significant drop," when they go down only about 3 points?

    July 10, 2009 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  6. Lars H

    The problem of confimation of Sotomayor is more or less a self inflicted problem. Having studied her history I believe she'd make a great Supreme Court Justice. However, I find it hard to believe that a nation of people who likes to think of themselves as democratic can accept the political appointment of a Supreme Court Justice. When it comes down to basics it is the legal thinking that should be the issue not the politics. Thankfully I live in a country where judges are appointed by qualifications and not political stand. It is impossible for me to understand how americans can even find this system democratic. Just look at the latest few presidential elections and see what you get. Do you believe yourselves that the right person won??

    July 10, 2009 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  7. I am Newt's ex wife

    I want to see her confirmed to help balance the court plain and simple.

    When the GOP stops all this "preening and posturing", she will still be confirmed.

    The GOP is taking a BIG risk fighting this battle. This will prove that they are NOT an inclusive party.

    July 10, 2009 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  8. Bosworth

    What difference does it make? If it's not her, then the Obama Administration will simply find some other liberal to take the seat. It doesn't matter what the candidate's qualifications are – only what their ideology is. This is an insignificant liberal replacement of another liberal. Big deal. Anoint her and move on. Call me when a conservative justice retires during the Obama Administration – now THAT's news. . .

    July 10, 2009 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  9. the rector

    See, thats the change we were promised! A higher lever of partisanship. Now lets borrow another trillion for the second, or is it third...fourth, "stimulus" (read here pork) package in less than eight months. Now even the democrats are starting to balk at the numbers so maybe the madness will stop soon, hopefuly. You know its bad when Rush starts to make sense!

    July 10, 2009 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  10. robert a lide

    I wonder if a white man will get a fair chance on here.

    July 10, 2009 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  11. Dave M

    I don't trust the poll; I suspect it was constructed to extract that very result – a slight positive majority – for political purposes. Look, she is an accomplished judge – but is she the absolute best and brightest in the whole of the USA? Come on...the whole of the USA? Can we please put politics aside as well as dem/rep, and just get the best.. Please.

    July 10, 2009 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  12. independent Jim

    Nothing wrong with her. As long as she agrees to follow the Constitution and the laws of the US, she should be confirmed. If you think the other Justices see the world without biases created by their life experiences, you simply do not understand the decision-making process. Besides, Sotomayor is very moderate – not a "wild eyed liberal" by any means. She deserves confirmation.

    July 10, 2009 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  13. Chris

    Uhhhh, in a word ....... NO!

    July 10, 2009 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  14. stay on the porch

    All the white people out there ask yourselves if you were other than white would you have your job and status. This illustrates a simple point. Confirm the woman and shut up.

    July 10, 2009 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  15. TCM

    Nope – we have enough of Obama's cronies now; we don't need a Supreme Court Czar......

    July 10, 2009 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  16. Johnny DC

    Yes, paint the GOP to look entirely partisan here, CNN. The great Messiah himself, President Obama said that both Justices Alito and Roberts were qualified for the SCOTUS, then filibustered one and voted no on the other's confirmation.

    Did you know that, Liberals? Most of you probably did not. Google it. Wikipedia it. Then explain where Obama gets the nerve to demand a fair process, a non-filibustered vote, etc. Explain it.

    This President will stop at nothing, lies included, just to look perfect in the public eye. Not unlike Cheney and Bush. Not unlike them at all.

    July 10, 2009 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  17. Another point

    This woman proved her bias when she blocked filling ledership slots in the New Haven, Connecticut fire department because the only applicants who passed the entry test were white. The test was shown to be fairly done. Those who passed had studied, some by taking courses whils those who passed showed less effort. This 'minorities or nobody' judgement left the cummunity less safe with the jobs not filled. Thankfully the issue has been resolved with a reversal of her judgement. Her predudistic judgements show what kind of judge she'd be. Her racial predudice before common sense.

    July 10, 2009 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  18. Don

    No way no how would I ever confirm her nominee. This will be an appointed position, someone that has their on agenda and from her views at this moment there is no way that I would even consider her. She is missing the boat with her opinion and I mean her opinion and not the whole country on discrimination. She had her blinders on when ruling on the case with the fireman. Most qualified does not me, race, color or national origin. Look at the issues before you make a ruling and you will be more favorable for the nominee.

    July 10, 2009 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. Henry Miller

    Sotomayor's rulings very clearly indicate a racial bias against whites. This isn't simple affirmative-action style pro-minority bias, it's the nastier flip-side of that, an active anti-white bias. What else can account for her perfect willingness to screw a bunch of white firemen, doing permanent damage to their careers, just because no blacks passed the fire department promotion exam?

    This kind of vindictive prejudice can not be allowed on the Supreme Court!

    July 10, 2009 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  20. Jim

    "Ultimately, however, Supreme Court nominees rise or fall on their own merits."

    Supreme Court nominees rise or fall depending upon whether or not they belong to a politically significant ethnic group, and/or one that can (and will) piss and moan about discrimination. The "Wise Latina" will be confirmed after the requisite congressional charade. Count on it !!!

    July 10, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  21. Michelle

    Yes, she should be confirm.

    July 10, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  22. European-American

    Not this one.

    July 10, 2009 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  23. Duncan

    She may be the best person for the job.. but I object to the fact that she was chosen because of her gender and race. I would bet 10 years of income that Obama or someone else high up said 'find me a qualified female latino'.. and that is just wrong wrong wrong..

    I also think her ruling in the White Firefighters case was a disgrace.

    July 10, 2009 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  24. Michelle

    President Obama is doing a fine job after five months. Americans should know that it took eight-ten years to get us in this economic disaster. So Americans should give the President until the end of the year. President Obama stated that this economic disaster would be slow and take along time to bounce back.

    This President is doing more in a few months than any other President. As for polls, most Americans don't do polls so his ratings are still high. Governors should use the stimulus. Many republican governors are slow to use the package because they want the President to look bad. The President has a lot on his plate, but he's handling all the challenges very well.

    July 10, 2009 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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