July 10th, 2009
09:28 AM ET
13 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. Brian

    What else do you expect from the party of No other than obstructionism? They have no real objection to Judge Sotomayor, other than the fact that anything the President does must be opposed.

    July 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. lovable liberal

    The GOP really is the party of NO! For them, elections only have consequences when they win – even if they win 5-4.

    July 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Kevin from Co

    God I hope they don't confirm this raciest women into the highest court of the land. What is happening to this country?!

    July 10, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Earl from Ohio

    She is a tremendous jurist and is among the finest candidates ever nominated. Highest rating from the ABA, Valedictorian, Practicing Lawyer, Educator and a woman.

    If you think the country is split now, her failure to be confirmed could spark a chasim and cause a wound in this country that would not be eliminated anytime soon.

    July 10, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. JML

    Right, it really couldn't be because the "winds" of change is too much for white America to accept right now, could it? America truly should GROW-UP and stop the hate-madness, it truly is holding our country down.

    July 10, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Emily

    Yes, please confirm her!

    July 10, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Loan

    This guy is so low. Why the media still promotes him ? Will people take this guy as a friend ? You would not know what he would say when the relationship went sour.

    July 10, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    This woman is a racist and a militant feminist who considers the bench as nothing more than a means to further her own warped agendas. OF COURSE she should NOT be confirmed.

    But unfortunately, most Americans couldn't care less about what it's government is doing (until after it does it), so she will most likely be snuck through.....and then a few years from now they will start whining when senseless politically-correct psycho-babble starts coming from the high court.

    July 10, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. sean

    What's funny is that this judge was appointed by Bush I and easily confirmed almost 20 years ago. This is an indicator of just how hard a turn to the right the Republican Party has taken in the years since. Personally, I would like more diversity of opinion on the court as Ms. Sotomayor seems a bit conservative to me. But she has been vetted by the Democrats, and all of the professional legal organizations give her appropriate grades, so perhaps its time the "party of no" moves on and cease being so obstructionist.

    July 10, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Zivo24

    Confirm her already!

    She is infinitely more qualified and deserving to be on the court than Scalia, Alito and Thomas.

    July 10, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Guy Next Door

    In a word, NO!

    July 10, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Thin is in?

    Member of womens only organization, CHECK, member of LaRaza which is "the race" and thinks Latino over everything else, CHECK, sexist, bigoted and racist comments in speeches and in her writings, CHECK, self annointed "affirmative action baby", CHECK, woman, CHECK, minority, CHECK.

    Yup, she meets all the requirments for an Obama appointee, we just need to make sure she DOESN'T pay taxes and she is a shoe in.

    Though everything I posted is factually accurate, cries of racist, sexist and hater begin in 1,2,3..........

    July 10, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Uncle Ellsworthy

    why would anyone beleive anything this scumbag said. Anyone who does is a first class idiot. I'm sure a lot of those will be posting on here pretty soon, after all the name "Palin" is in the article. That's all it takes for the lowlife to crawl out from under their rocks.

    July 10, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. jaye

    Of course we want her confirmed – it's the republican nazis that don't want her confirmed.

    July 10, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. LouAz

    CNN must stop these 1000 person polls that are presented as "a national poll of Americans". The sample size is simply not large enough to draw the news creating conclusions made. This is journalism at it's worst.

    July 10, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. Steve (the real one)

    This poll doesn't mean much! Congress has the final say and they don't have a great track record of listening to the people anyway!

    July 10, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. Sniffit

    Hook, line and sinker. One must wonder when the GOP will realize that Obama and the Dems are baiting them time and again. Seriously. The woman is more than qualified and the GOP knows it...their opposing arguments are nothing more than thin, irrational verbal flatulence. If they turn this into a knock-down-drag-out fight, yammering about "Borking" her, they will come away looking even more racist and sexist than they already do.

    July 10, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Anonymous

    The republicans need to stop using hate and division to ruin the country. George W started this hate and I tell you I will not buy his book when it comes out. I think she should be confirmed. We had a "bad"
    president but it doesn't mean we are all "bad" people. Lets start over.
    These selfish petty republicans who all they care about is tax breaks for the rich have got to go.

    July 10, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. LIP

    We can't have someone in favor of "reverse discrimination" on the Supreme Court. The fact that she openly supported this simply can't stand, and no amount of posturing will undo what has been done.

    July 10, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Jack

    "...a new national poll indicates that by a narrow margin, Americans would like the Senate to confirm her as the next Supreme Court justice"

    How can you say this only 47% says they do. The other 53% either doesn't or doesn't know. You are misleading the public. Maybe you are a sub-set of the CIA or are taking lessons from them?

    This is a great example of very bad journalism, very bad.

    July 10, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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