Poll: 7 in 10 disagree with Sotomayor on Ricci

While Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor appears to be faring well generally in public opinion polls, her ruling on a controversial case gets poor marks in a new poll.

The Quinnipiac poll found that more than seven in 10 respondents disagreed with Sotomayor's ruling in the Ricci case, in which Sotomayor upheld a lower court ruling in favor of New Haven for throwing out a firefighter promotion test because minority applicants performed, in whole, worse than white applicants and therefore only white applicants would have received promotions.

Less than two in 10 respondents agreed with Sotomayor's ruling. The Supreme Court has taken the case on appeal and observers believe it will overturn the ruling from Sotomayor's court.

"There is very strong opposition to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's position on the New Haven firefighters' case. Even Democrats say 59 - 27 percent that New Haven was wrong to throw out the promotional exam because no black firefighters scored well enough to be promoted," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It is obviously an area that those trying to block her confirmation may be able to exploit politically. There is clearly strong opposition from white voters about these programs."

However, a majority - 59 percent - said the ruling doesn't make them less likely to support Sotomayor's confirmation. Twenty-eight percent said they a less inclined to back her nomination.

The Quinnipiac poll comes a day after a Gallup poll found that a majority - 54 percent - say Sotomayor should be confirmed. That poll found that Sotomayor is performing as well as any recent Supreme Court nominees at this point in the process.

There was a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent in the poll.

(Just as a side note, I anticipate the wording of the question on the Ricci case to cause a stir in the blogosphere, so here it is:
As you may know, the United States Supreme Court will be deciding a case involving New Haven, CT's use of promotion tests for firefighters. Because no blacks scored high enough to qualify for promotion, the city decided to throw the test out. Do you think the Supreme Court should uphold the city or order the city to promote the 14 white and one Hispanic firefighters who scored high enough for promotion?

I am betting some of Sotomayor's backers will take issue with "uphold the city.")

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com