by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hold hearings on Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a Wall St. Journal poll says Americans are split on Alito and don’t want him to vote to make abortion illegal. Though it was released Thursday, the poll was conducted from December 8-14.
Conducted for the WSJ by the Harris Poll, the poll shows 34 percent of Americans favor Alito’s nomination, 31 percent are opposed and 34 percent are unsure.
A majority of Republicans (65 to 9 percent) favor Alito while a plurality of Democrats (48 to 14 percent) oppose him and Independents are split (34 to 38 percent).
The poll results are different from others that have been taken since the WSJ survey was completed.
A poll conducted by The Washington Post just before Christmas found 54 percent in favor of Judge Alito’s confirmation and just 28 percent opposed. A CNN poll last month similarly found 49 percent favoring Judge Alito and 29 percent opposed.
The WSJ poll also asked respondents if they would support or oppose Alito if they thought he would "would vote to make abortions illegal." However, Alito would have no opportunity to vote to make abortion illegal. At best, with the confirmation of a fifth pro-life judge sometime in the future, Alito could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow each state to determine whether to prohibit abortions.
Because of the flawed wording in the poll, 69 percent of those polled would oppose Alito if he would make abortions illegal and 31 percent approved his nomination. Republicans favored Alito making abortions illegal by a 56-44 percent margin, Democrats oppose him by a 14-86 percent margin, and Independants opposed him by a 26-74 percent margin.
In October, President Bush nominated Alito, a 15 year veteran of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
The Senate will begin confirmation hearings on Alito on Monday and is expected to hold a vote on his nomination on January 20.
Abortion has become a top issue in his nomination battle as both sides in the abortion debate have been focused on his rulings as well as two memos he wrote in 1985 while working for the Reagan administration.
The memos show Alito saying there is no right to abortion in the Constitution and urging the Reagan administration to use a Supreme Court case to limit abortions until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Most pro-life organizations back Alito’s nomination or are taking no position while abortion advocacy groups strongly oppose his nomination.
The December Harris poll was conducted online among 1,961 adults and has a 2 percent margin of error.