SOTOMAYOR’S STRONG SUPPORT…. Conservatives had such high hopes for Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination. They were going to raise lots of money, put Democrats on the defensive, and use the confirmation fight to generate enthusiasm among Republican activists.

Developments have clearly not gone according to plan. In Washington, Republican leaders concede that Sotomayor has not become the lightning rod they’d hoped for. And nationwide, support for the judge’s conformation is quite high.

A sizable majority of Americans want the Senate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and most call her “about right” ideologically, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Senate hearings on Sotomayor, President Obama’s pick to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter, begin in two weeks, and 62 percent of those polled support her elevation to the court. Sotomayor, 55, is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York.

If confirmed, Sotomayor would become only the third female justice and the second on the current nine-member court. But there is no gender gap in support for her, with men and women about equally likely to be on her side.

With 62% supporting her, Sotomayor enjoys stronger backing at this stage in the process than any of the last four nominees.

It seems none of the charges from Sotomayor’s detractors has had much of an effect. Only 25% want to see the Senate reject her nomination, and a fifth of those critics insist that Sotomayor isn’t liberal enough. What’s more, despite some recent polling suggesting a growing number of Americans describing themselves as “pro-life,” the Post/ABC poll found 60% of respondents saying they want Sotomayor to vote to uphold Roe vs Wade.

All the attacks on Sotomayor have managed to convince conservative Republicans, but no one else. The right largely expected to lose this fight over Sotomayor, but the goal was to lose in a productive way, leaving conservatives in a better position going forward. That isn’t happening.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.