As the battle continues in Washington over President Bush’s selections for federal judges, a new poll indicates 57 percent of Americans want Senate rules to be changed so a vote must be taken on every person the president nominates to become a judge.

The survey by Rasmussen Reports finds only 26 percent disagree.

If the Senate rules are changed, most Americans – 51 percent – say Democrats should not follow through on their threat to use other rules to effectively shut down the Senate. Just 26 percent believe Democrats should retaliate in such a manner.

According to the survey, Democrats around the country are divided on the strategy proposed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid – 41 percent in Reid’s party support the threatened shutdown and 32 percent are opposed.

As might be expected, Republicans oppose the Reid approach by a 7-to-1 margin. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 43 percent oppose the shutdown and 27 percent support it.

“They talk about Senate rules. Where are the Senate rules that deny nominees a vote?” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on his show today. “[The Democrats’] real intent is to block the nominees. … They don’t want these votes taken because [the Democrats will] lose.”

During last night’s presidential news conference, Bush himself plugged the need for the Senate to take action on his nominees for the bench.

“I certainly hope my nominees get an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate. They deserve an up or down vote,” Bush said. “I think for the sake of fairness, these good people I’ve nominated should get a vote. And I’m hoping that will be the case as time goes on.”

Other findings from the Rasmussen survey show that 49 percent now believe all of the president’s nominees should be guaranteed an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate, up from 45 percent one week ago.

On the question of who they trust more on this issue, Americans are now evenly divided. Forty-four percent say they trust Democrats in the Senate more, while 41 percent take the opposite view and have more trust in the president. That’s a three-point improvement for Bush over the past week.

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