Tags: court | diversity | poll

Poll: Americans Don't Care About High Court 'Diversity'

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 03:26 PM

By Dave Eberhart

About two thirds of those surveyed in a new Gallup Poll said it doesn’t matter to them whether Obama appoints a woman, African-American or Hispanic to the U.S Supreme Court, according to a report in CQ Politics.

In considering contenders for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by David Souter, just six percent of those polled said that it was “essential” that Obama appoint a woman, while another 26 percent agreed it would be “a good idea, but not essential.”

“There is simply no large groundswell,” wrote Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, in a preface to the survey released this week by the independent polling institute.

“It is unclear how much the average American knows about the current demographic composition of the Supreme Court,” Newport noted. “Still, as was the case four years ago, the current results suggest that -- for whatever reason -- there is simply no large groundswell of demand from the American public for the appointment of a new justice” who is a woman or minority.

Presently on the nine-member High Court, there is one woman, one black and no Hispanic. In fact, there has never been an Hispanic justice on the Court, according to a report by the NY Times.

As to the percentage responding that appointing a Hispanic is essential or a good idea -- a combined 22 percent said so in the latest poll, compared to 26 percent in September 2005.

In the new survey, 68 percent of Americans polled say it doesn’t matter to them whether a Hispanic is appointed, and 74 percent say it doesn’t matter whether a black is appointed, roughly the same as in 2005.

In other poll findings:

  • Only 6 percent of Americans surveyed by Gallup called it “essential” that Obama appoint a woman, while an additional 26 percent view it as “a good idea, but not essential.”

  • The combined percentage of 32 percent is smaller than the 43 percent and 47 percent who voiced the same sentiment about a woman after Sandra Day O’Connor’s exit in autumn 2005 Gallup polls.

  • Women are more likely than men to call it important that the president nominate a woman for the court. Yet just 38 percent of the women surveyed by Gallup this month called it essential or a good idea. Among men surveyed, only 24 percent called it essential or a good idea.

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