Poll: Most Confident In Obama's Court Pick

President-elect Barack Obama over the Supreme Court CBS/AP

As President Obama prepares to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, most Americans are confident the president will pick a good nominee, a new CBS News poll shows.

In addition, the poll finds most Americans are also confident about the way Mr. Obama is handling the economy, even though they don't expect the recession to end any time soon.

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On the Supreme Court choice, 55 percent of Americans are confident about the president's impending Supreme Court pick, one third are uneasy about the decision.

(CBS)
The split in confidence over the president's choice largely falls along party lines. More than eight in 10 Democrats are confident Mr. Obama will nominate good justices, but two in three Republicans are uneasy about whom he will choose. Sixty percent of conservatives and 63 percent of white evangelicals are also uneasy about Mr. Obama's choice.

President George W. Bush's opportunity to name a justice to the court in 2005, after the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, stirred even more doubts, with just 46 percent of Americans saying they were confident in Bush's choice and 52 percent claiming to be uneasy with his decision. However, President Bush faced lower popularity ratings at the time than Mr. Obama does now.

Mr. Obama's approval ratings stand at 63 percent, down 5 percentage points from last month, according to the poll. The percentage of Americans who say the country is heading in the right direction, though, continues to inch up. Currently, 45 percent of Americans agree with that sentiment, which is four points higher than last month and the highest that figure has been since December 2003, shortly after the capture of Saddam Hussein.

(CBS)
Correspondingly, 48 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction, down from 50 percent in April and 68 percent in February.

The public's outlook for the economy is also improving. Thirty-two percent of Americans think the economy is getting better, which is the most optimistic economic outlook in the United States since February 2004, according to the poll.

Still, 42 percent of Americans expect the economic recession to last another two years or more. Another 39 percent think it will last one more year, while one in 10 Americans expect the recession to last another six months.

The percentage of Americans who approve of the way Mr. Obama is handling the economy has decreased slightly from 61 percent in March and April to 56 percent.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,874 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone May 6-12, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus two percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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