July 10th, 2009
09:28 AM ET
5 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. NO to Sonia

    I vote no. She makes racist comments and gets away with it. Why is that acceptable??

    July 10, 2009 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  2. DRL

    Ridiculous. Republicans, through what should be predictable means by now, have turned a perfectly qualified judge into a controversy–and people are drinking it up.

    July 10, 2009 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  3. Neilz

    We need Sotomayor on the High Court. Not because she's Hispanic. Not because of her stand on any issue. We need her there because she is a woman. I'm tired of rich white men and their lap dogs dominating the Court. Whatever her views on social issues, she is more qualified than half the Justices currently seated and should be confirmed without question.

    July 10, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Marty, FL

    Judge Sotomayor has the experience and qualifications to make a great Supreme Court Justice, in addition to our first Hispanic on the court.

    Republican opposition is unfortunately not surprising, as evident by too much xenophobia within the GOP. Spanish Americans deserve better than misguided treatment received from the Party of No.

    July 10, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Yes, we want her confirmed and confirmed quickly. There is nothing the republican senators can throw at her. A review was done on 1,200 of Sotomayor's cases and it found that 98% of the time she votes in the unanimous decisions favor.

    July 10, 2009 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. Doug

    The question that should have been asked is "Should we appoint another catholic to the Supreme Court?. The President got a meeting with the Pope and is on his way to see him today. What does everyone else think, are their more questions?

    July 10, 2009 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  7. Scott, Tucson

    I have no problems with her unless she wants to open up the borders and grant amnesty along with free health care to the illegals here. If she's a staunch Catholic than the abortion rights folks might have an issue with her

    July 10, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. joe m

    in the long run a justice of the supreme court will act in a way that can be unpredictable. ultimately, as well, the choice of sotomayor to take the retiring justice's place does not change the ideaological makeup of the current court. therefore, sotomayor's confirmation should be solely based on how she provides prooof of her worthiness to the nomination. this includes her ability to explain her past record and public statements. as with all the current justices, the hope is that sotomayor will first uphold the law above her own personal cultural, political, and religious beliefs. if she is able to excersice the role in this manner, history can then judge her as a notable member of this highest judicial body.

    July 10, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  9. McModerate

    It seems the focus of the criticism of her record is in regard to her Appeals Court decision in the New haven firefighters case that was recently overturned by the Supreme Court.

    It should be pointed out that she was in the majority of a 7-6 decision by the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court decision to overturn was a 5-4 split. The combined pro-con tally was 11-11, so it certainly wasn't cut and dried, and it probably split along ideological lines. I think it's irresponsible to focus all the blame on her, as if her decision was some sort of judicial aberration.

    If the GOP insists she's unfit to serve based on that case, what about all the other judges on both courts who also agreed with her?

    July 10, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Doesn't make any difference what the people want does it? Obama wants it, ACORN wants it and the unions want it. George Soros, ACORN and the unions are running the country for their own porfit with a puppet as president. Taxpayers and working peoples wants and needs are ignored to the benefit of the the greedy.

    July 10, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. Indy in PA

    This is a result of the Republicans throwing around the charge of "racism" based on the Ricci case. What I'd like to know is, how many of those polled have read the Ricci decisions (including Ricci II, the full per curiam decision released by the Second Circuit panel and for which Sotomayor is being hanged) and looked back at the precedent upon which they were based and the statute they were decided under before buying the "racist" label. I'd also love to see how much of the MSM's time has been spent in giving the story's actual facts and issues in full context so people can make an informed decision. Ignorance breeds ignorance, which is why this country is in such sad shape. If you don't like her, fine. But there's a LOT more to the story than the 10-second soud bites are giving out.

    July 10, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. Eric-30m-PUMA voted McCain

    The racist and sexist comments that she made should cause a lot of concern and prevent her from being appointed.

    July 10, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  13. Indy in PA

    Anybody who says Ricci was about quotas or promoting blacks above other races is wrong. This was not about blacks vs. whites, but about just how far an employer needs to go when faced with getting sued by one or both sides when no matter WHAT they do they have unintentionally violated Title VII. Placing some common sense limits on these lawsuits and on what the employer must do in a Catch-22 situation is legitimate, but was not the settled law at the time the Second Circuit ruled. Go back and educate yourselves (since nobody, especially the media, will spell it out for you) and then decide what you think based on real facts.

    July 10, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. Dee, 1 Vote

    Judge Sotomayor, you have my vote! You are not a Latino,You are not a Women...."You are Judge and have Pres Obama on your vote."

    July 10, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. Dan Holiday

    I wouldn't support anything that the democrats' President supports. He is an idiot who does nothing for this country except give kickbacks to his friends and taxes to the people. Also, answer this. Why are there so many Czars now? I mean for one, that is a term used in Russia. I'll tell you why. It is a way to give his friends and supporters jobs. They have no confirmation hearings and no pay control. They each make 176,000.00 dollars. He can pick anyone he wants with absolutely no oversight. This is a bad practice by Presidents. I did not agree with it when Bush did it and I certainly do not agree with it now. At least Bush only had a couple. Obambi has dozens. This is the worst President in the history of our country. Come next election folks, we need to take this country back from the hippies and racist on the left. These tax and spenders are spending us into oblivion. Is this the change we can believe in? I think not. If so, then you can keep the change. Oh wait, I may need that change to pay my taxes.

    July 10, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. Bob

    Just one word. Racist!

    July 10, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  17. AXH

    NO, as an educated Hispanic woman, I do not! Obama is just pandering for the Hispanic vote in the next Presidential election. Sotomayor while a accomplished judge is the right person for the High Court; this based on her legal judgement and opinions.

    July 10, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  18. J. Frohn

    Sotomayor is not fit or qualified to be a Supreme Court nominee. She is a proven racists. She is for all Hispanics at the expense of whites and blacks. She is not someone who would bring Americans together. She will decide in favor of illegal aliens and Hispanics every time; she has a record of same.

    July 10, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. barbara campbell

    No surprise that most Republicans oppose Sotomayor's nomination. The neocons march in lockstep more than ever before, taking orders from their divisive, antagonistic leaders like Limbaugh, Cheney, Boehner, Steele, O'Reilly, et. al., who care more about making sure President Obama "fails" than they do about the American people.

    July 10, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. Chris (South Carolina)

    I don't see why anyone would have problems with Sotomayor. Seems middle of the road to me, smart and well qualified.

    Would be no different than who she is replacing.

    July 10, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. JB

    When the majority of your cases that go to tthe Supreme Court get overturned, there is a problem with your thought process. The Ricci case was a travesty of justce. People think that is all over. It is not. Those gentleman who studied, worked hard and passed the test, had their careers put on hold for 5 years. They did not get a raise, a promotion etc. . . And this lazy judge has the guts to write three sentences, which included "precedent". What if there was a bad precedent? Racism is racism. Apparently, this woman does not believe minorities can be racist. Bjork her. And, Obama by voting against Roberts/Alito for no other reason other than Ideology, has put dems in a poition where they cannot complain. Remember, Obama siad, I think Roberts will make a great judge, I just don't agree with his ideology. Bet he is regretting that.

    July 10, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  22. Really!?

    She has had more of her rulings over turned by the Supreme Court thant the rest of the sitting Justices combined. She is not exactly a constitutional scholar.

    July 10, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. Tony

    I wold not want her a my Judge.....................

    July 10, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  24. Tony

    I would not want her as my Judge..........................

    July 10, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. Kevin in Ohio

    It does not matter what we think...the Senate is now a filibuster-proof majority and the democrats will do what they please.

    July 10, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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