From today’s National Journal PollTrack:
Early polling shows the public is not as keen on President Bush’s choice of White House counsel Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court as it was on his first pick, newly confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts.
Just 44% of respondents to a new CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll rated Miers as a good or excellent candidate for the high court, whereas 51% initially hailed Roberts’ as such. In addition, a 54% majority told pollsters back in July that they had a positive first impression of Roberts, while just 42% said that of Miers.
A Gallup party breakdown shows support for Miers falling down partisan lines, with 72% of Republicans and just a quarter of Democrats giving her positive marks.
In the public’s view, there are already several strikes against Miers. A 46% plurality said they are less likely to support her nomination because she’s never been a judge and 49% worried that her views on controversial issues remain a mystery.
Bush has dismissed accusations that selecting Miers — a long-time friend — was an act of cronyism. However, more than half said they suspected her close ties to the president were a very important factor in her selection. In addition, a 44% plurality said they’re less likely to support the former Dallas lawyer because of those personal ties.
Bush said Tuesday at a Rose Garden press conference that he’d never discussed Miers’ position on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. But the public appeared fairly curious. Attitudes on how much Miers should reveal about her stance on the issue during Senate confirmation hearings nearly matched those taken before Roberts’ vetting. Fifty-five% said senators should insist Miers explain her views on abortion compared to 61% who wanted Roberts to do so.
If confirmed, Miers would replace the first woman named to the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. But gender seemed unimportant to the 82% of respondents who said it wouldn’t have bothered them if Bush hadn’t put forward a female to fill the vacancy.