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Harris Poll: Americans Are Divided On Alito
January 4, 2006

Americans lack consensus on whether the Senate should confirm Judge Samuel Alito as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a Harris Interactive poll shows.

Almost equal thirds of all adults believe that Judge Alito should be confirmed (34%), should not be confirmed (31%) or say they aren't sure (34%), according to the poll. A majority of Republicans (65% vs. 9%) favor his confirmation, the polls shows, while a plurality of Democrats (48% vs. 14%) oppose it, and Independents are split (34% for confirmation; 38% against).

However, nearly 70% of those surveyed in the online poll of 1,961 adults would oppose Judge Alito's confirmation if they thought he would vote to make abortion illegal. That percentage rises among Democrats (86%) and Independents (74%), compared with 22% of Republicans. More than half of Republicans polled say they would support his confirmation if they thought he would vote to make abortion illegal, compared with 14% of Democrats.

Judge Alito's conservative record has caused division among many Americans, The Wall Street Journal has reported. Environmentalists believe he could limit laws on clean air and clean water, while women's groups claim he could shift the court toward overturning Roe v. Wade. Additionally, senators of both parties plan to ask him to clarify his understanding of congressional authority.

See the results of the latest poll:

"President Bush has nominated Samuel Alito to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Do you believe he should be confirmed by the Senate?"

Base: All Adults

  Party ID
  Total Republican Democrat Independent
Should be confirmed 34% 65% 14% 34%
Should not be confirmed 31 9 48 38
Not sure 34 26 38 28

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

* * *

"If you thought that Judge Alito, if confirmed, would vote to make abortions illegal, would you favor or oppose his confirmation?"

Base: All Adults

  Party ID
  Total Republican Democrat Independent
Favor (Net) 31% 56% 14% 26%
Strongly Favor 16 32 6 11
Somewhat Favor 15 25 8 15
Oppose (Net) 69 44 86 74
Somewhat Oppose 20 21 16 22
Strongly Oppose 49 23 70 53

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

Methodology: This survey was conducted online in the U.S., Dec. 8-14, 2005 among a nationwide cross sections of 1,961 adults. Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of these sizes, one could say with 95% certainty that the results have a statistical precision of +/-2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. population had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for Republican (620), Democrat (614) and Independent (510) sub-samples is higher and varies.

Write to the Online Journal's editors at newseditors@wsj.com

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a world-wide market research and consulting firm, best known for The Harris Poll and its use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research. For more information, see www.harrisinteractive.com. To become a participant in The Harris Poll Online and join future online surveys, see www.harrispollonline.com.