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. Nico

    100% YES!!!

    July 10, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. L. Carreras

    Do Americans want Sotomayor confirmed? As opposed to what? Italians? Germans? Is another country involved in Sotomayor's confirmation? In the CNN survey, who but Americans would have been surveyed?
    Finally, are you aware of the fact that Puerto Rican citizens are United States citizens by birth? That would mean that many of us would participated in your survey.

    July 10, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Suz C.

    Since when is 7 points a "narrow" margin?
    Republicans had best not whine too much.
    Obama could pick much much much worse!
    My only complaint is that she puts a third New Yorker on the Bench and New York is NOT America and probably completely out of TUNE with the rest of the country!
    Of course, I also think we should move Congress to Omaha.

    July 10, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Chris

    If we believe that our ancestors fought wars so that lady Justice could take off her blindfold and dispense justice based on ones skin color or ethnicity or gender then yes, we want Sotomayor confirmed.

    However, if we believe that they fought so that justice can continue to be applied equally regardless of race then we don't want Sotomayor confirmed.

    Similarly, if we hold on to MLK's dream of being judged by the content of one's charachter as opposed to the color one's skin then no, we don't want Sotomayor confirmed.

    Lastly, if we believe in the 10th amendment to the Constitution, which is questionable given the trend toward trampling state's rights over the past 30 or 40 years, then we don't want Sotomayor confirmed.

    Personally I do not believe that our countrymen are buried beneath white tombstones in Normandy or entombed in the USS Arizona so that we can apply the law unevenly or shred the Constitution. As such I have already sent letters to all of Congress urging them not to confirm Sotomayor, although I will concede that in the end, she will be confirmed.

    What a sad day for America.

    July 10, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Chris D.

    Only 47% of Americans are affirmative towards Sotomayor's confirmation? Geez........I feel their is a 10-20% of the population that is being quiet during all this partisan hoopla, but really do support this nominee, and many of Obama's initiatives........There is so much contraversy over nothing.....the Presidents decisions have been good. He's a basiclly a smart guy who's trying to make the right decisions for the country.........Also trying to help the disenfranchised as well.........It's disheartening to know, that people are siding w/ those who care nothing about them......
    America really needs to grow up, or we're going to miss out on an oppurtunity, where we finally have a voice in Washington.
    Spending will calm down.....however as of now, he's spending on America.....the benefits will last for generations to come......

    July 10, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. SK2 DELAWARE

    No way !!! She want certain demographics to pull ahead at the expense of others. Reverse discrimination is still "DISCRIMINATION".

    July 10, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. rand

    The GOP has become known as the "party of no" for many reasons and this is just one more. Obama could have selected a right wing conservative and the GOP would oppose.

    Sotomayor's merits will get her appointed to the Supreme Court. It is time for another woman and a more liberal face for balance.

    July 10, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. jennifer Miller

    She will be a great asset to the Suprime Court. I'm Very proud of her.

    July 10, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. rm

    no we do not. she is too radical and bias. we really want freedom, rights and equality for all – even the white people. it's time we had people in our high courts who apply the law fairly to all and not just the pc.

    July 10, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. alvino

    You have to give the party of "No!" credit for their unwarranted and baseless attacks on her. It appears that fear still works for 40% of the people.

    July 10, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Alfred E. Neumann

    Which raises the point – in good times and bad there will always be full employment for meaningless polling issues.

    July 10, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Old Farmboy

    Can't speak for everyone, but I don't trust this woman. I say NO.

    July 10, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. Bill in Illinois

    I have some really mixed feelings regarding her confirmation. It is troubling to me that she has had as many of her verdicts reversed as she has and the firefighter case really bothered me. Her verdict in that one case appeared to me to be totally racially motivated and evidently the court that she now aspires to felt the same way.

    I do believe that she is highly qualified but could easily make what should be a non issue a major issue in her decisions. Discrimination is just plain wrong and should never be tolerated. I fear that will not be the case if she is seated so I hope that she is rejected for the seat.

    July 10, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. No Soto

    Nope and I don't even work for the fire department.

    July 10, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Margaret Anderson

    This is the "New Era" of Republicans. They are against everything and anything any Democrat offers. It is sad that they are playing strictly party politics. If it is good for the people of this country, be against it if they didn't think of it first. I was hoping President Obama could mend this divide in the country, but the Republicans are determined to make the divide wider.

    July 10, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. John

    America is a Judeo-Christian country. Why would Americans want to see their Supreme Court dominated by Roman Catholics?

    July 10, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Why wasn't this QUESTION ask about the other Supreme Court member. Do American want Sonia Sotomayor confrimed as a Supreme Court Judge? Maybe judge Sotomayor is a women or she is Hispanic.

    July 10, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. dft

    Who cares what the public think? How many have read a Supreme Court decision let alone any of her opinions. The public's position on either side is dictated by the talking heads and media.

    July 10, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Brian- Palm Bay, FL

    This women rules based on her feelings not the law. She has been over turned by the Supreme Court numerous times and appeals courts even more so. Why would anyone who is not a blind Obamasciple support this highly questionable selection?

    July 10, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Stuffit

    It doesn't matter what America thinks, the folks inside the Beltway are going to play their partisan games and we're gonna get stuck with whatever they want. It doesn't matter if it is good for the country or not, whatever enriches the politicians is how they vote. A confirmation for Sotomayor have Democrats on the Hill thinking they will garner more voter support in 2010, political expediency is the flavor of the day, not what's right or wrong based on principal.

    July 10, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Ryan

    Why 47% would like a racist to be confirmed is beyond my comprehension. Unless 47% are racists.

    July 10, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. champly

    So what CNN is saying is that more qualified, non-bigoted, nominees by a Republican president drew more opposition from Democrats than this nominee, who is clearly unqualified (and a bigot), draws from Republicans. Interesting. Why can't CNN say that in one simple sentence rather than constructing an illogical conclusion from logical data ?

    July 10, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. landshark

    Yes I support President Obamas pick for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. As a US citizen I am sick of the personal attacks put on by the Republicans. C. Thomas is the worst Supreme Court Justice we have had in my life time! If she lives for a thousand years, she couldn't be any worsts a pick than him!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Mike in MN

    Not this white male who wants equal protection under the law.

    July 10, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. nom deplume

    As an attorney and former constitutional scholar, I posit that there should be no surprise if there is a tough hearing and a party line vote. The modern politicization of the Court approval process started with the nomination, and subsequent character assasination of Robert Bork. The democrats in the 80's uncorked the bottle and let the genie of partisan politics out, and have attacked well-qualified and less well qualified candidates alike. They can hardly complain when it is their candidate being attacked for her politics when they invented the tactic.

    July 10, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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