Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Alito's Ratings Similar to Miers', Lower Than Roberts'

Gallup asked:

As you may know, President Bush has nominated [name] to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

1. Generally speaking, how would you rate Bush's choice of [name] as a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court -- as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

NameExcellentGoodOnly fairPoorNo opinion
Samuel Alito 2005 Nov 11726221718
Harriet Miers 2005 Oct 3-41133251615
John Roberts 2005 Jul 202526201415

Alito scores almost identically to Miers, indicating that the public would be as accepting of her failure as they were if Miers's.

That doesn't mean he should fail, or that he will. Polling doesn't tell you what to do, just what people think right now.

Maybe after the White House rolls out its big guns, the public will wake up loving him.

Or maybe they'll like him less.

If you were convinced that Alito would vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, would you, personally, want the Senate vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court, or not?

Yes, confirmNo, notNo opinion

People, even a lot of conservatives and Republicans, don't want Roe overturned. Moderates and Independents align more closely to liberals and Democrats on this issue.

Suppose all or most of the Democrats in the Senate oppose Alito's nomination. Do you think they would be justified -- or not justified -- in using Senate procedures, such as the filibuster, to prevent an up-or-down vote on his nomination?

JustifiedNot justifiedNo opinion

If that happens, the Republicans in the Senate would consider changing Senate procedures to eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominations, which would ensure an up-or-down vote on the nomination. Do you think the Republicans in the Senate would be justified -- or not justified -- in doing this?

JustifiedNot justifiedNo opinion

I find it surprising how many people would support a filibuster and support the nuclear option. I think wording plays a role here. If it were presented as the Republicans overturning centuries of precedent, or abusing their majority to force a rule change around the normal process, support would probably be lower. As it is, those two questions look like mirror images to me.

Here, Independents and moderates are squarely between the two partisan sides. That's a big block of people that each side needs to sell to, but each side also needs to shore up the base. A quarter of Republicans think a filibuster is justified, almost as many Democrats think it's unjustified.

Hopefully it won't come to that, but if it does, both sides will need their partisans on board, and will want to be carrying the moderates with them. Roe v. Wade will play a role in that sale, but other factors will, too.

I expect the hearings themselves will be uneventful, unless Alito took a bong hit back when he was signing documents opposing sodomy laws. The case each side makes before he's called to testify will determine what happens, I expect.

"Question" by Son Volt from the album Wide Swing Tremolo (1998, 4:00).