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. 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 |
  2. Dont blame me

    Based on her OWN words, I do not think that she should be confirmed.

    Law is "supposed to be" BLIND when it comes to ALL matters except the EVIDENCE and Sotomayor has not, in her own words, followed that primary rule of law.

    The Supreme Court MUST follow the "rule of law" and it is NOT their place to bend or break "laws" that are in place unless they contradict a prior law. In which case it needs to go back to the legislature to be revised.

    There are 3 separate branches of government for a reason.

    The House and Senate passes bills.
    The President then signs those bills into LAW.
    It is up to the courts to UPHOLD THE LAW.

    July 10, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |

    This appointee is no different than the stimulus bill; cap and trade; the 4 trillion budget bill; the 300 pages of earmarks; "cash for clunkers", the proposed healthcare reform; government intervention and ownership in private companies, etc

    She is a political expedient choice advancing the subterfuge of the constitution; rule of law; and state's rights.

    July 10, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. shaneque

    She is a bigot. She does not belong on the court.

    July 10, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. phonix86

    Liberals and dems are closet racists, of course they want her confirmed.

    July 10, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I really don't know. I do not want any more of my freedoms taken away. Where does she stand on my right to privacy. It is almost gone.

    July 10, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. Terry

    Sotomayor is certainly a more reasonable judge than the political cave men that Conservatives have placed on the court. We need a court that will allow the nation to deal with its problems – for a change.

    July 10, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. suprised

    wow even the dems don't want sotomayor

    July 10, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. S Callahan

    I don't know who these polls talk too...but being a Repub..and knowing many...we are supporting her nomination....so these 'polls' confuse me...and even at times appear instigative..

    July 10, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Uncle Sam

    Of course most thinking Americans support her – she's not really controversial & will be seated (only opposition is for no real reason, other than to oppose & follow the party of No)

    July 10, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. coffic

    "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." WHAT?!? On what do those fools think her appointment should be based? Gender? Race? Her smile? Her singing ability? She should be appointed/not appointed ONLY on her stand on the constitutionality of her decisions and issues. This country has turned into a nation of morons.

    July 10, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Rachael

    Of course Americans DO NOT back Sotomayor. But CNN, being a wing of the Democrat Party, will run a lame story like this suggesting they do!

    July 10, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. Hopeful Optimist

    We are TWO different countries. Lets split up. We'd ALL be happier that way. Why not ? We did it in 1861 and it worked great.!

    When God looks down on us he probably sees two brats squawking in the sandbox.

    July 10, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Gary

    Latino women do NOT make better judges than white men, or asian men or african americans. There is NO place for women's only clubs (or men's only clubs). If you promise a promotion to a firefighter if he/she scores a certain rank on a test and he does it, then he deserves the promotion regardless of his race or the race of the other fire fighters. This is common sense and the law.

    Pick someone else. It doesn't have to be a conservative. But someone else who demonstrates better judgement than this candidate. Almost everyone I know (lib or conserv, repub or dem) feels this way. Please pick someone else.

    July 10, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  15. therealmarie

    Since when do we pick SC based on polls? C'mon CNN educate the uneducated and stop promoting ignorance.

    July 10, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Since when does the opinions of Americans count? Did I miss something?

    July 10, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Martin

    All I have to say is, "haters".

    July 10, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. Continuum

    CNN and the rest of MSM are trying their hardest to re-create the Republican disasters of the last 30 years. From cheer leading for the Iraqi war to the Republican war on the middle class. Once again, CNN displays its GOP bias.

    July 10, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. JA/TN

    why not, we have several seventy-five year olds that should be retired

    July 10, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. John

    Sotomayor must follow the rule of law in this land that was provided by others before her....... it is not her right or her job to legislate from the bench. That has been her weakness. I think she is capable of doing a good job....but I will always wonder if her decisions are authentic and not for the betterment of any particular group or idea.... they need to be for the betterment 'for the people'.

    There are better choices out there frankly.......

    July 10, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |

    i don't approve- but then, who in DC is actually representing the people's will?

    only one- Ron Paul

    July 10, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. sonny chapman

    If you ain't one of "them", you ain't nothing.

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

    I would like to see her confirmed....

    I don't care who President Obama would pick, the Republicans would start their usual blah, blah, blah, blah....that's all we hear from them...put down, put down, put down...when they don't even have a clue.....

    July 10, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  24. John Long

    This is a strange result – 40% opposed, in particular. It would be helpful if the poll had delivered details about the demographic character of the responses, and delved into reasons for opposition. It would also be useful to know if we're hearing about an attitude, which is usually less firm and changeable, or a strongly-held opinion, generally seen as firm enough people will take action on the views.

    What mainly seems to arise from this report is that the smear campaign has worked, to some degree, and perhaps coupled with concerns about various social issues, people have become fearful of "what might be" without full knowledge of the judge's history and qualifications. Raising unsubstantiated fears is one of the ultra-right's traditional tactics.

    July 10, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. elliott

    NO but I would like her committed.

    July 10, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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