Almost half of U.S. voters hold negative opinions about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan but are more convinced than ever that the Senate will confirm her, according to Rasmussen Reports.
Just over 40 percent have a favorable opinion of Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general and former dean of Harvard Law School, while 47 percent view her unfavorably, up from 43 percent a week ago and 39 percent just after President Obama announced her nomination on May 10, the new Rasmussen national telephone survey found.
If confirmed, Kagan would replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, 90, the court’s oldest member.
Rasmussen’s new findings include 15 percent with a very favorable opinion and 23 percent who regard her very unfavorably, according to the May 24 and 25 survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters. The figures also shift from the first survey, when Kagan’s very favorables were 18 percent and very unfavorables, 17 percent.
By comparison, the president’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, maintained favorables around 50 percent through the first three surveys following her selection, with unfavorables falling to 40 percent.
With Senate hearings on Kagan’s nomination set to begin June 28, 36 percent of voters now favor her confirmation, but 39 percent oppose it, and 25 percent are undecided.
During the previous two surveys, voters have been tied on confirmation. Two weeks ago, 33 percent said Kagan should be confirmed, 33 percent disagreed, and 34 percent were undecided. Last week, 39 percent supported Kagan’s confirmation, while 39 percent were opposed and 22 percent were not sure.
Still, 87 percent believe it is at least somewhat likely than Kagan will be confirmed, up four points from a week ago and five points from the week she was nominated. This now includes 55 percent who say her confirmation is very likely.
Almost 50 percent view Kagan as ideologically liberal, while 30 percent say she is a moderate. Only 4 percent see her as conservative, but 18 percent are not sure. This marks little change from a week ago.
Two-thirds of Democrats now view Kagan favorably, while 72 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of voters not affiliated with either party regard the nominee unfavorably.
Just over 55 percent of voters believe it is fair for a U.S. senator to oppose an otherwise qualified court nominee because of disagreements over ideology or judicial philosophy.
Although Republican President Gerald Ford appointed Stevens in 1975, the justice has long been viewed as a reliably liberal vote on the court.
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