I saw this phrase at quite a few places but never understood it. What does it mean when one says that "the answer is a qualified yes"?
The person cannot say yes without "qualifying it". This means the speaker puts some condition on his/her yes. He/she cannot fully agree with a statement, or he/she can only say yes if some detail or explanation is added or made clear.
A: Will you help me with my homework tonight?
B: Yes, if I have enough time after work.
B's yes is a "qualified yes" because there is a certain condition she places on it (if she has enough time after work).