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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/21/2009

Sotomayor's Smooth Ride

President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court continues to win about 2 to 1 support among the public, including broad majorities of Democrats and independents, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) say the Senate should vote to confirm federal judge Sonia Sotomayor, three in 10 (30 percent) oppose the nomination. That's a slight decline in support from last month, when 62 percent said she should be confirmed and 25 percent opposed seating the judge from New York.

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Q. As you may know, Obama has nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Do you think the U.S. Senate should or should not confirm Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court?

June 2009

July 2009

Sotomayor is expected to easily win confirmation when the Senate takes up a vote on her nomination. The poll was conducted Wednesday through Saturday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on her nomination wrapped up.

Over the course of the month, support for Sotomayor's nomination held steady among Democrats (78 percent say she should be confirmed; 79 percent in June) and slipped insignificantly among independents (60 percent support confirmation; 64 percent in June). Support among Republicans went from 36 percent in June to 28 percent now. That drop is nearly all among GOP women, 22 percent of whom now back her confirmation, down from 36 percent in June.

Independent women are also now less apt to favor confirmation than they were a month ago: While 65 percent of them backed Senate confirmation in June, now, 54 percent support her. The judge's backing has held steady among men across party lines and among Democratic women.

Those on either end of the ideological spectrum were mostly unmoved in the past month - a wide majority of liberals backs her nomination (79 percent), while about half as many conservatives say the same (40 percent). Moderates still broadly favor her confirmation (65 percent) but opposition has grown 10 points since June.

Those who consider themselves feminists - who are disproportionately likely to identify as Democrats - are broadly in favor of confirmation - 71 percent to 22 percent. Sotomayor is the fourth woman nominated for the court and would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only women currently serving on the nine-member bench.

Sotomayor would also be the first Hispanic to take a seat on the high court, and her support among non-whites (76 percent) far outpaces her backing among whites (52 percent).

Education has proven to be another consistent dividing line: those with college degrees continue to be more broadly in favor of confirmation than those with less formal education - 64 percent compared with 55 percent - while those with some post-graduate education are most widely in favor (75 percent say she should be confirmed).

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:00 AM ET, 07/21/2009

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