Poll: Americans Unsure About Miers

White House counsel and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers begins her courtesy calls on the Senate, Monday, Oct. 3, 2005 in Washington. President Bush nominated Miers to the Supreme Court turning to a lawyer who has never been a judge to replace Sandra Day O'Connor and help reshape the nation's judiciary.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson) AP

Most Americans have yet to decide how they feel about Harriet Miers, who was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by George W. Bush on Monday. Only 22 percent have an opinion of her, and only one in four can say whether or not she should be confirmed.

But unlike the typical immediate public reaction to Supreme Court nominees, in this case those with an opinion are very divided. As many have an unfavorable view of her as have a favorable one. Just about as many say the Senate should vote against her as say it should confirm her.

OPINION OF MIERS

Favorable
11%
Unfavorable
11%
No opinion/haven't heard enough
77%

SHOULD MIERS BE CONFIRMED?

Yes
14%
No
13%
Can't Say
70%

There are no gender differences in judgments of Miers in this poll, but there are still partisan differences. 30 percent of Republicans say she should be confirmed, but nearly two-thirds of them are not yet sure. More than 70 percent of Democrats and Independents are holding back their overall judgment of her, but those with opinions are negative. Three out of four self-described conservatives have yet to state an opinion of Miers.

Opinions about then-nominee and now Chief Justice John Roberts formed quickly after his nomination to the Court. In July, ten days after President Bush nominated Roberts, more than a third of all respondents and half of Republicans expressed an opinion about Roberts. And among Republicans and conservatives, their opinion was overwhelmingly positive.

OPINIONS OF BUSH SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENTS

Favorable
All
Roberts (7/29-8/1)
25%
Miers (10/3-5)
11%

Republicans
Roberts
51%
Miers
22%

Conservatives
Roberts
42%
Miers
15%

Unfavorable
All
Roberts (7/29-8/1)
7%
Miers (10/3-5)
11%

Republicans
Roberts
1%
Miers
4%

Conservatives
Roberts
2%
Miers
7%

Although the President has now nominated two people to the Supreme Court, one of whom already has been confirmed, there is nearly as much concern from Americans about his ability to make good nominations as there was in January, before he had made any. In January, a third of Americans worried his nominations to the Court would be too conservative. Now, after he has made two, 30 percent are concerned about that. At both times, fewer than half thought his nominations were "about right" ideologically.

GEORGE W. BUSH'S COURT NOMINEES

Too conservative
Now
30%
January
33%

Not conservative enough
Now
16%
January
15%

About right
Now
42%
January
44%


Nearly one in four conservatives (23 percent) now say his nominees are not conservative enough. But 21 percent of them also worried about that in January.

And, looking back on those nominations, Americans are divided on whether or not they are confident that the President has nominated good justices. In this poll, 41 percent have confidence, while just about as many— 43 percent — are uneasy. Seven in ten Republicans are confident, but only a quarter of Democrats and a third of Independents are. And nearly a third of conservatives are uneasy.

CONFIDENT THAT BUSH NOMINATES GOOD COURT JUSTICES?

Yes
41%
No
43%




This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 808 adults, interviewed by telephone October 3-5, 2005. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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