The first public opinion poll on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is out, from Gallup, and it shows the initial reaction to her as on balance positive, predictably stratified on partisan lines, and pretty similar to the favorable reaction that met the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.
Telescoping these factors, Gallup’s analysis says this:
Americans’ first reactions to the news of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court are decidedly more positive than negative, with 47% rating the nomination as “excellent” or “good,” 20% rating it “only fair,” and 13% rating it “poor”….
Comparing ratings of Sotomayor to those of the three previous nominees (all chosen by the Republican President Bush) suggests that the current partisan reaction to Sotomayor follows a fairly standard pattern. Between 72% and 79% of those identifying with the party of the president making the nomination react positively to the candidates. There is a slightly larger range in positive ratings among those identifying with the party not controlling the White House at the time of the nomination: from a high of 31% of Democrats who supported Roberts and 29% of Republicans who support Sotomayor, to a low of 18% of Democrats who supported Alito.
There’s a pretty noticeable gender gap in perceptions of Sotomayor, with 54% of women deeming her excellent/good, as opposed to 42% of men. Interestingly, there was virtually no gender gap in initial reactions to the ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers.
No word from this first poll on Hispanic reactions to Sotomayor, but we’ll see those eventually.