June 4, 2009 - Sotomayor Weathers First Week With High Approval, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Obama Coalition Tops Protestants, Evangelicals

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Led by large black, Hispanic and Jewish majorities, American voters approve 55 - 25 percent of President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Approval of her nomination remained high throughout the seven days of the survey.

The Sotomayor nomination wins support from Democrats 80 - 5 percent and independent voters 53 - 26 percent, while Republicans disapprove 47 - 30 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey of more than 3,000 voters nationwide finds.

Men approve 50 - 31 percent while women approve 60 - 20 percent. Approval among other groups is:
  • 49 - 29 percent among white voters;
  • 85 - 2 percent among black voters;
  • 58 - 24 percent among Hispanic voters;
  • 51 - 26 percent among white Catholics;
  • 66 - 18 percent among Jews;
  • 43 - 37 percent among white Protestants
  • White evangelical Christians oppose the nomination 41 - 35 percent.
Judge Sotomayor is "more liberal" than they would like, 30 percent of voters say, with 5 percent who say "not liberal enough" and 44 percent who say she is "about right."

"So far the Republicans have barely laid a glove on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. There may be disputes within the Beltway about her nomination, but she is still playing well in Peoria," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Since her nomination nine days ago, her level of support with the American people has been constant. This is an indication that criticism from some conservatives and Republicans has not struck a chord with the voters - at least not yet," Brown added.

"To a considerable degree, feelings about the wisdom of Judge Sotomayor's selection match attitudes about President Barack Obama. Those who are most supportive of the President - Democrats, racial minorities, Jews and liberals - are the most in her corner. Those who are least happy with the president - Republicans, conservatives and white evangelical Christians -are more likely to oppose her nomination."

"If Republicans want to send Sotomayor back to New York, they must convince voters, and Senators who are afraid of the 'liberal' label, that she is 'too liberal.' So far, the plurality of voters think she's 'just right,' a finding that remained constant in a week of polling."

A nominee's legal qualifications are more important than achieving diversity on the Supreme Court, American voters say 57 - 8 percent, while 30 percent say both factors are equally important.

U.S. Senators should consider only Judge Sotomayor's legal qualifications in deciding whether to approve her nomination, 46 percent of voters say, while 44 percent say Senators should consider her views on issues such as abortion and affirmative action.

American voters approve 62 - 22 percent of the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest approval ever measured in a Quinnipiac University poll, topping 58 - 27 percent May 3, 2007, and reversing a negative 39 - 43 percent July 17, 2008. Among all political, racial, religious, age and income groups, approval of the Supreme Court ranges from 71 percent among Catholics to 54 percent among self-described conservatives.

President Barack Obama gets a 59 - 31 percent approval rating with only Republicans, conservatives and white evangelical Christians disapproving. This gives President Obama four straight months of 58 or 59 percent approval ratings.

From May 26 - June 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 3,097 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. If the 2010 election for U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for - the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate in your district?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Republican           32%    80%     1%    26%    35%    30%    39%     3%    26%
Democratic           42      3     89     29     37     46     34     81     52
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      1      1      4      4      1      2      1      7
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      -      2      1      1      1      2      -
DK/NA                22     16      9     39     23     22     24     14     14
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Republican           25%    35%    32%    26%    38%    39%     6%    25%    60%
Democratic           47     41     42     51     36     36     74     46     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       3      2      1      2      2      2      2      1      3
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1      1      1      1      1      2      1
DK/NA                24     21     23     19     23     22     17     26     20
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Republican           79%     2%    16%    32%    31%    53%    47%    38%    20%
Democratic            2     83     48     42     43     22     27     37     63
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      1      1      2      2      2      2      1      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      2      1      1      1      1      1      -
DK/NA                17     15     33     22     22     22     23     23     16
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for - the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate in your district?
                     Jun 4   Apr 29
                     2009    2009
 
Republican           32      34
Democrat             42      41
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1
DK/NA                22      22
 
 
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              59%    23%    91%    57%    54%    64%    52%    93%    66%
Disapprove           31     65      3     30     36     26     37      2     24
DK/NA                10     11      5     13     10     10     11      5     10
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              66%    59%    56%    65%    54%    56%    86%    69%    28%
Disapprove           25     31     33     25     37     38      9     19     61
DK/NA                 9      9     11     10      9      6      5     11     11
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Approve              15%    94%    85%    58%    62%    38%    46%    54%    75%
Disapprove           75      2      7     32     28     51     43     33     17
DK/NA                11      3      9     10     10     11     11     13      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
                     Jun 4   Apr 29  Apr 01  Mar 04
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              59      58      58      59
Disapprove           31      30      31      25
DK/NA                10      12      11      16
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling their job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              43%    13%    78%    33%    38%    48%    36%    80%    51%
Disapprove           45     78     13     52     53     38     52     12     37
DK/NA                11      9      9     15      8     14     12      9     12
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              51%    44%    39%    50%    39%    38%    72%    48%    19%
Disapprove           38     46     48     38     53     54     19     38     72
DK/NA                11     10     12     12      8      8      9     14      8
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Approve               7%    76%    56%    43%    44%    25%    30%    40%    56%
Disapprove           87     16     27     45     46     64     58     50     33
DK/NA                 6      9     17     12     11     11     12     11     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling their job?
                     Jun 4   Apr 29  Apr 01  Mar 04
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              43      43      40      45
Disapprove           45      46      49      45
DK/NA                11      11      11      10
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling their job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              30%    45%    21%    26%    29%    31%    29%    32%    39%
Disapprove           56     42     65     59     62     51     57     53     48
DK/NA                15     13     14     15     10     18     14     15     13
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              43%    29%    24%    32%    29%    28%    26%    31%    32%
Disapprove           45     57     61     53     60     61     62     53     55
DK/NA                13     14     15     16     11     10     12     16     14
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Approve              37%    18%    33%    31%    27%    30%    30%    33%    29%
Disapprove           51     71     50     53     62     53     54     53     57
DK/NA                12     11     17     16     11     17     16     13     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling their job?
                     Jun 4   Apr 29  Apr 01  Mar 04
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              30      27      30      30
Disapprove           56      59      59      58
DK/NA                15      14      11      11
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the United States Supreme Court is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              62%    60%    66%    61%    64%    60%    62%    60%    61%
Disapprove           22     25     20     22     22     22     21     26     21
DK/NA                16     15     14     17     13     18     17     13     18
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              59%    63%    62%    61%    65%    68%    63%    69%    54%
Disapprove           26     21     21     24     22     20     24     16     29
DK/NA                15     16     17     16     14     12     14     15     17
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Approve              59%    67%    74%    59%    68%    56%    61%    71%    70%
Disapprove           26     20     11     24     18     25     22     17     15
DK/NA                15     13     16     17     13     19     17     12     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the United States Supreme Court is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE........
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 4   Jul 17  Aug 16  May 3   Dec 7   Jun 4   Jul 17
                     2009    2008    2007    2007    2005    2009    2008
 
Approve              62      39      45      58      50      62      39
Disapprove           22      43      37      27      32      22      43
DK/NA                16      18      17      15      17      16      18
 
 
6. Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              55%    30%    80%    53%    50%    60%    49%    85%    58%
Disapprove           25     47      5     26     31     20     29      2     24
DK/NA                20     23     15     21     20     21     22     12     18
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              60%    54%    54%    59%    51%    53%    80%    64%    29%
Disapprove           23     24     26     22     27     32      5     16     49
DK/NA                17     21     20     19     22     14     14     20     22
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Approve              21%    85%    73%    54%    58%    35%    43%    51%    66%
Disapprove           55      3      9     25     23     41     37     26     18
DK/NA                24     12     18     21     19     24     21     23     16
 
 
7. Would you say that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is more liberal than you would like, not liberal enough, or about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
More liberal         30%    58%     7%    31%    36%    26%    36%     6%    25%
Not liberal enough    5      3      6      5      4      5      4      5     11
About right          44     22     68     40     40     48     39     70     46
DK/NA                21     17     19     23     20     21     21     19     18
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
More liberal         26%    32%    32%    24%    36%    39%     6%    24%    58%
Not liberal enough    6      5      4      6      3      4     10      2      3
About right          48     43     43     48     40     45     70     52     21
DK/NA                19     20     21     21     20     11     14     22     18
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
More liberal         67%     4%    18%    30%    32%    47%    44%    36%    22%
Not liberal enough    1      8      3      5      4      3      2      3      8
About right          15     72     59     43     48     29     33     40     58
DK/NA                16     16     20     22     16     22     20     21     13
 
 
8. Should Senators support or oppose Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court based only on whether she is qualified to be a justice, or should they also consider her views on controversial issues like abortion and affirmative action?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Only qualifications  46%    33%    55%    46%    49%    43%    44%    53%    46%
Consider views       44     58     34     46     42     47     46     34     46
DK/NA                10      8     11      8      9     11      9     13      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Only qualifications  46%    46%    44%    42%    50%    56%    62%    49%    33%
Consider views       48     45     42     46     44     41     32     43     55
DK/NA                 5      9     14     12      6      3      6      8     11
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Only qualifications  34%    62%    49%    42%    54%    30%    40%    47%    56%
Consider views       57     29     42     46     41     61     51     44     35
DK/NA                 9      9      9     12      5      9     10      9     10
 
 
9. As you may know, Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Do you think this was a very important factor in President Obama's choice of her, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Very important       34     41     26     36     37     31     33     33     40
Somewhat important   35     28     41     35     34     36     36     34     33
Not too important    10      9     13      9     10     11     10     10     13
Not important        17     18     17     17     16     18     17     20     13
DK/NA                 4      4      3      3      3      4      4      3      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Very important       27     33     38     33     35     35     24     28     48
Somewhat important   40     38     31     34     37     38     43     40     24
Not too important    14     10      9     11     10     11     17     10      7
Not important        18     16     18     18     16     14     15     19     17
DK/NA                 1      3      5      4      2      1      1      3      4
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
Very important       47     23     27     34     34     39     37     36     38
Somewhat important   23     44     47     32     42     32     34     31     39
Not too important     8     14     10     11      9      8      8     13      9
Not important        18     16     14     19     12     16     16     18      8
DK/NA                 4      2      3      4      3      5      5      2      6
 
 
10. Do you think making the Supreme Court look like the rest of the nation in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender is more important than a justice's legal qualifications for the job, less important or about as important?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
More important        8%     7%    10%     8%     9%     8%     6%    15%    16%
Less important       57     69     42     63     61     55     63     33     47
About as important   30     20     43     26     27     33     27     48     36
DK/NA                 4      4      5      4      4      5      4      4      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
More important        7%     7%    11%    11%     5%     6%     8%     7%     8%
Less important       57     62     53     51     62     69     45     57     69
About as important   34     28     30     33     30     24     43     33     18
DK/NA                 2      3      6      4      2      2      3      3      5
 
                     PRES VOTE..........                WHITE.............
                     Bush/  Kerry/ Bush/  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     McCain Obama  Obama  Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew
 
More important        7%     9%     9%     9%     7%     9%     8%     5%    17%
Less important       74     44     58     56     60     61     64     64     48
About as important   16     43     31     30     31     26     24     28     26
DK/NA                 3      4      2      5      3      4      4      4      9