Numbers out on Sonia Sotomayor from the newest ABC News/Washington Post poll show the first Latina nominee to be holding steady with strong approval ratings–including among some unlikely groups.
Overall, her net approval ratings are solid–dropping a bit from the previous poll, but only slightly and potentially the same, given margin of error. She polls better among non-whites than whites–no surprise there. And the key to her confirmation is support among independents and moderates, 60 percent and 65 percent of whom support her, respectively.
The interesting cleavage is among conservatives. ABC News polling unit’s Giovanni Russonello writes:
One surprising result is the division among conservatives: While 50 percent oppose Sotomayor’s nomination, that’s less than a clear majority, and indeed 40 percent of conservatives support her. So do 43 percent of evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group, with fewer than half, 48 percent, opposed. She’s weaker, though, among Republicans themselves, with just 28 percent in favor, 57 percent opposed.
Opposition among Republicans is up 14 points from last month, with fewer undecided. But the center has held for the judge: She’s backed by 60 percent of independents and 65 percent of moderates, as well as nearly eight in 10 Democrats and liberals alike.
Sotomayor avoided controversy at her hearings, expressing fidelity to the Constitution and backing off her statement in speeches that a “wise Latina woman” may come to a “better conclusion” than a white male judge. The issue does not appear to have hurt her significantly; in the ABC/Post poll in June, large majorities rejected the notion that her sex, race or ethnicity play a negative role in how she decides cases.
Nonetheless, her support remains much stronger among non-whites, 76 percent, than among whites, 52 percent. With data from the past two polls combined for sufficient sample sizes, 73 percent of Hispanics and 85 percent of blacks favor her confirmation.
In a fitting, related development, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced today that she will vote to confirm Sotomayor. Said Collins: “Judge Sotomayor has impressive legal experience, has excelled throughout her life and is a tremendously accomplished person. And based on my review of her record, my assessment of her character and my analysis of her adherence to precedent, Judge Sotomayor warrants confirmation to the high court.”