NEW YORK – Majorities of Americans think nominee Samuel Alito is qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and expect the Senate will confirm him, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday.
The new poll finds that 62 percent of voters think Alito is qualified, 12 percent unqualified and 26 percent unsure. Though there are partisan differences, sizable percentages of Democrats and independents see Alito as qualified. For Republicans, it is 77 percent, while among Democrats 50 percent think he is qualified, as do 60 percent of independents.
Overall, the number thinking Alito is qualified (62 percent) far surpasses that of former nominee Harriet Miers (37 percent), and is more on par with sentiment about Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (65 percent) at the time of his original nomination to the court.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on November 8-9. President Bush announced Alito's nomination on October 31.
Almost twice as many Americans think President George W. Bush made a good choice (45 percent) as a bad choice (23 percent) by nominating Alito, and by 46 percent to 29 percent a plurality says they would vote to confirm him. At the time of Roberts' nomination, 51 percent said they would vote to confirm him and 19 percent against.
"Given the problems he’s faced in other areas, the Alito nomination is one relatively bright spot for the president," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "By and large people favor the nomination and even those who are skeptical display little passion."
Republicans (75 percent) are about three times as likely as Democrats (26 percent) to say they would vote to confirm Alito, and men are 9 percentage points more likely than women to say so.
By two-to-one voters think the president has the right to choose Supreme Court nominees who share his philosophy, including 47 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 83 percent of Republicans.
Looking ahead, six in 10 Americans (61 percent) think the Senate will confirm Alito, which shows significantly more confidence in his nomination than in Miers' (48 percent) but somewhat less than in Roberts' (70 percent).
In addition, slightly more people think the Senate confirmation process will be respectful (37 percent) as think it will be rude (33 percent).