April 21st, 2010
12:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Majority say Obama will make right choice on nomination

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans say they have confidence in President Obama to make the right decision when it comes to filling the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court, according to a new national poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday morning indicates that 53 percent of the public is very or somewhat confident that the president will make the right decision in nominating a justice to the high court, with 46 percent saying they are not too confident or not confident at all when it comes to Obama's decision.

Forty-six percent of people questioned say they trust the president rather than Senate Republicans to make the right choice, with 43 percent saying they trust Senate Republicans over Obama. But by a 48 to 41 percent margin, respondents say senators who don't agree with the president's eventual nominee on key issues should filibuster the choice.

According to the poll, nearly three in 10 say the Supreme Court is too liberal, with nearly one in five saying it's too conservative and four in 10 saying it's about right. The survey also indicates that nearly eight in 10 say that the justices allow political views to enter their decisions.

"Perhaps most interesting is that almost five times as many voters think the justices allow their political views to play in their rulings rather than deciding cases solely on the law, perhaps a result of the all-out war that has been the case for most Supreme Court confirmations in the past two decades," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And 43 percent say Senators should consider a nominee's political views while 47 percent say consider only qualifications when voting on confirmation."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 61 percent of the public expect the president to nominate a liberal to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, with 21 percent saying the president will name a moderate and 16 percent predicting that Obama will nominate a conservative.

But only a quarter of those questioned said the president should nominate a liberal, with 37 percent saying they want Obama to name a moderate and 36 percent pulling for a conservative candidate.

On Wednesday, the president hosted Senate Democratic and Republican leaders at the White House to discuss the vacancy on the high court. Among the participants in the meeting were the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings this summer.

Stevens, who turned 90 Tuesday, announced earlier this month that he would retire from the high court at the end of this session. Stevens is considered the leader of the liberal block of the court.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted April 14-19, with 1,930 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Poll • President Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. John, Sacramento

    The court should be balanced, and neither the left or right should have a stamp of approval. Serious considerations will not even take place if the court becomes un-balanced. John Stevens was a liberal, and even with him on the court, it ruled center to slightly to the right. For the sake of balance, he must be replaced with a justice of similar views/positions.

    April 21, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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