Saturday, October 29, 2005

As We Move Forward On SCOTUS Nominees: Where Is Public Support Really?

This polling information from Gallup is worth a read by anyone seriously interested in who the next nominee will be. In the poll results, one question asked for the respondents' "Initial Reaction to Miers' Withdrawal." The data broke down as follows:
  • Of conservatives, 34% were "pleased;" 44% were "disappointed."
In other words, about one-third of conservatives were pleased that Miers withdrew. A greater number of conservatives were disappointed. Does that suggest to anyone that there was unanimity among conservatives about what Miers should do? Does anyone think that NRO's Corner and Laura Ingraham spoke for a broad spectrum of Americans on this issue, let alone conservatives?

The poll also asked for the reactions of moderates and liberals to Miers' withdrawal:
  • Of moderates, 45% were "pleased;" 33% were "disappointed."
  • 55% of liberals were "pleased;" 25% were disappointed."
As the poll analysis from Gallup notes:

The pattern of these responses follows typical lines. Conservatives and Republicans are most likely to be disappointed. This suggests rank-and-file conservatives may have been less negative about the nomination than highly visible conservative pundits and columnists. [Emphasis added.]

Still, only 44% of conservatives describe themselves as disappointed with the withdrawal, while 34% are pleased (more than one in five conservatives didn't have an opinion in response to this question).

So much for the notion that "the American people" wanted Miers to withdraw. It doesn't even seem that a majority of American conservatives wanted that to happen. So if you're a conservative who thinks that because you supported the Miers nomination, you might have been out of step with the majority of conservatives, think again.

Another set of data address this important question: Why were some people pleased that Miers withdrew? The answers are surprising: Only8% thought her views were too conservative; a tiny 4% felt her views were not conservative enough; a whopping 49% thought she lacked the necessary qualifications; and 35% thought she was too close to Bush personally.

Keep in mind, we're talking here about the people who were pleased Miers withdrew. The analysis notes, "Few of those who are pleased by the withdrawal say it was either because Miers was too conservative or because she was not conservative enough." So if you think the conservative opposition to Miers was because she was not considered ideologically "one of us," think again.

People (like me) who got their information about Miers only from the blogosphere and the punditocracy generally would never have guessed that the public has the views laid out above. There's a lesson in there somewhere about assuming the blogosphere is always representative of Americans' views.

So what does this mean? I think it still very important now to move forward and and put the recent intra-family battle behind us; I'm more and more ready to do that with each passing hour. Mr. President, bring on a solid judicial conservative! But as the president rolls out his next nominee, we need to have a firm grip on reality and where the American public seems to be, and what they might be willing to fight for (or what kind of a fight they might be willing to stand for).

I have no doubt the White House is reading polls too, and those polling data are certainly much more detailed and deep than the Gallup results above.

Still hoping for Christopher Cox. I think he'd be a great choice, for the reasons noted here. Besides, I like a good surprise now and then.

UPDATE: If you want to get your mainstream center-right conservative heart beating again, read this piece by Victor Davis Hanson.


Anonymous GM Roper said...

Lowell, I'm one of those pleased that Miers withdrew, but primarily because she didn't seem to have a solid grasp of constitutional law. Too, while I do believe that she was conservative, and I also believe that the President (of what-ever party) has the right to nominate anyone he wants, including a dog-catcher from Deluth, the process calls for "Advise and Consent" of the Senate. The process worked, maybe not in the way Bush wanted, but for sure it worked. I'd like to see Cox, Brown or Luttig put up for the next vacancy. Any of the three would be an excellent choice. 

Posted by GM Roper

Saturday, October 29, 2005 6:06:00 PM  
Blogger J. A. Gillmartin said...

I think I can speak for many conservatives who aren't lawyers and don't like lawyers.

Scanning the milieu of those vocal shakers and movers on the national scene who would be counted amongst the 34% who were "pleased," I'd guess most are lawyers and those who aren't would count many lawyers amongst their closest friends; I'd also guess that less than half of 1% of their daily interactions are with red-staters whom they claim to speak for; and I'd also guess their "judicial experience" test is every bit as much a litmus test for service on the highest court as is the liberals' "Roe v. Wade" test.

I think these so-called "conservatives" just beat a gunnysack full of kittens with a baseball bat on the chance there might be a rat in the bag.

Posted byJohn GillmartinJohn Gillmartin

Saturday, October 29, 2005 9:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike Weyhrich said...

Thank you for your clear comments about the Miers situation. Thank you also for making clear what had been my frustration with the arrogance of he conservative punditocracy. I have been so pleased by their support and fight for conservative causes and for Bush in the elections, however they have betrayed their elitsm like your comment that they see Bush as a cog in their scheme---who obviously needs to be disciplined for not listening to "them" as he should. An attitude that is dangerous for them. They foget that Bush is the  President. Not them. I also share your frustration with Laura Ingraham. I have enjoyed her show very much but have noticed an increasing bitterness on her part towards Bush in the last 3-4 months. Unfortunately, this episode has only encouraged her to increase her attacks.  

Posted by Mike Weyhrich

Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

If anything, this vicious witch hunt was an insult to the vast majority of licensed attorneys in every jurisdiction in the United States. Hugh Hewitt is correct, this now means the phrase often (correctly) repeated from the right "give the nominee an up or down vote" has now been eliminated

Part of the problem is that sites like NRO can put out wild charges against a nominee and have zero accountability, yet this is fed directly into talk radio - and millions of listeners can get a very bad 1st impression of a nominee based either on flat out false statements or opinions disguised as facts

This was posted by Rich Lowery, (ONLY the editor of the actual NATIONAL REVIEW) within hours of the nomination:

"Just talked to a very pro-Bush legal type who says he is ashamed and embarrassed this morning. Says Miers was with an undistinguished law firm; never practiced constitutional law; never argued any big cases; never was on law review; has never written on any of the important legal issues. Says she's not even second rate, but is third rate. Dozens and dozens of women would have been better qualified. Says a crony at FEMA is one thing, but on the high court is something else entirely. Her long history of activity with ABA is not encouraging from a conservative perspective--few conservatives would spend their time that way. In short, he says the pick is “deplorable.” There may be an element of venting here, but thought I'd pass along for what it's worth. It's certainly indicative of the mood right now...
Posted at 12:30 PM"

BELDAR basically caused Lowry to correct some of it, but the damage was done. Rich Lowry being a non-lawyer did not even have the common sense to cross-check some of his claims several checks which could have been done in minutes, for example the alleged non-law review experience, among others

When one is EDITOR of one the most influential conservative publications in the world, one has a higher duty to get the facts straight, especially relative to some random blog poster

There were so many charges flying against Ms Miers at one point that it was hard to keep track of them, and most were being fed out of NRO. The most amusing were the claims that Miers recently was for a time engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in DC due to late payment of dues to the DC bar association, which simply made little sense to those of us familiar with the procedural "suspension" announcements directed at alleged late payers, which sometimes are just address change issues. Of course Ms Miers had in any case ongoing Texas membership at that time, more than meeting any "practice" requirement necessary for a federal employee

Don't count on lawyers as making much of that 34% "pleased" number


Posted by Rob

Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger terrance said...


I think the poll shows that the President is more in touch with the conservative base than the pundits are. But, the nomination process is so fragile at this point that without near unanimity from those who usually go to battle it will be hard for anyone to get through.

My fear is that of the 44% who are disappointed enough are so upset with conservative political pundits that they won't take to the battlefield with the fervor they had before. Ferver along with unity have been crucial to the limited success Bush has had in nominations. Frankly, a major weapon has been removed. We no longer have the clear battle cry easily understood by the man in the street "_every_ nominee deserves an up or down vote". Nor are our pundits as persuasive as they were before.


Posted by Terrance

Saturday, October 29, 2005 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger George Berryman said...

Right and in addition to that we also lost our "no litmus tests" for nominees argument (we've created a whole new slew of them in the wake of the Miers nomination) as well as our defense of not releasing past documents and papers that we used with John Roberts. With Roberts, when the Left said "We don't know" our reply was "And you don't need to; none of us do. He can't and shouldn't answer those questions." With Miers our 'side' started stating the exact opposite. 

Posted by George Berryman

Sunday, October 30, 2005 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous saveliberty said...

GM Roper

Sorry to disappoint but in fact the President did speak with the Senate (and not just Harry Reid) before he nominated her.

What we see is some sort of reaction that the anti Miers crowd did not persuade us that the honorable thing was done here. It also smacks of the ends justifies the means, but that's my own observation.

The reality is that had she gone to the hearings and failed, then it would not have caused the rift that exists today. How many times have we read from the anti Miers crowd that they could not let that happen?

Those who object most strenously to the rift among conservatives are those who demonized her supporters as those who could not dissent with the President.

Now it is clear that those who think that they have won want to get the rest of us to comply. But they can't, because they do not embrace persuasive arguments, which would include some apologies for bad conduct. As such, they do not have the control that they think. If for no other reason that some of us became conservatives to get away from control freaks.

We didn't shout or insult the opposition down. In fact, I recall on numerous occasions giving the opposition the benefit of the doubt. But none of this was given in return to us, Ms Miers or the Presdent.

Instead we get variations of the comment that we are free to do what we are told.

What is our incentive to abandon what we believe are principles of decency and relinquish our right to question the anti Miers control freaks? What if we don't want to be virtual Democrats? 

Posted by saveliberty

Sunday, October 30, 2005 4:31:00 AM  

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