NEW YORK – Harriet Miers' (search) decision to withdraw fits with public sentiment, as three weeks after she was nominated to the United States Supreme Court (search) more voters said they opposed her nomination than supported it, a reversal from earlier in the month.
According to a FOX News poll conducted before Miers’ resignation, just over a third of Americans (35 percent) said they would vote to confirm Miers, while a 38 percent plurality said they would vote against. These results vary slightly from two weeks ago when a plurality (37 percent) said they would vote for Miers and 32 percent against (11-12 Oct 2005).
Support for Miers went up a couple notches among Republicans from 57 percent to 60 percent; opposition went up 5 percentage points among Democrats and 15 points among independents.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on October 25-26.
By 40 percent to 33 percent, voters think Senators were giving Miers fair consideration. When asked about the press, those numbers reversed: 40 percent said the media were treating her unfairly and 34 percent fairly.
What did people think would happen with the nomination? Over a third (37 percent) thought the Senate would confirm Miers, while an equal number thought she wouldn’t be confirmed either because she would withdraw her name from consideration (21 percent) or the Senate would vote her down (17 percent).
“Assuming they’ve been looking at polling data, the White House clearly knew that compared to the Roberts’ nomination, Miers’ was a problem for many Americans,” comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. “The nomination didn’t have credibility with a wide swath of opinion. This probably meant there was a detectable lack of enthusiasm among those who did express at least surface support.”
Republicans were the most optimistic that Miers would be confirmed. Half thought the Senate would confirm her, while less than a third thought she would withdraw (15 percent) or be voted down (16 percent).
President George W. Bush nominated Miers to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (search) on October 3.
Even though it has been widely reported that Miers is an Evangelical Christian (search), by almost two to one Americans said her religious beliefs should not be something Senators considered when deciding their vote. The 64 percent that opposes considering a nominee’s religious beliefs includes majorities of Democrats (57 percent), independents (64 percent) and Republicans (73 percent).
Overall, about equal numbers of Americans have a favorable (24 percent) as have an unfavorable view (23 percent) of Miers, with 31 percent undecided and another 22 percent that say they have never heard of her.
• PDF: Click here for full poll results.