Zogby: Plurality Backs Kagan Nomination

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 06:10 PM

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The Senate should approve the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a plurality of voters, a new Zogby Interactive survey found.

In addition, the poll found, majorities are not concerned that the U.S. solicitor general never has been a judge or that her confirmation would leave the high court with no members of the Protestant faith.

The poll of 2,063 likely voters conducted May 14-17 found 46 percent approving of Kagan’s confirmation, and 35 percent, disapproving. Only 15 percent of Republicans support her confirmation, while independents are 44 percent-33 percent in favor. Opposition to her confirmation is greater than support among Catholics, born-again Christians, and married voters.

Almost 55 percent of respondents are not concerned that Kagan has never been a judge and 67 percent are not fretting that her confirmation would leave the court with no Protestants. Also, 52 percent are not concerned that every member of the court will have attended Harvard or Yale law school if Kagan is confirmed.

The poll also found 32 percent giving the court's performance positive ratings of excellent (2 percent) or good (30 percent). Almost half gave the court a grade of fair, and 21 percent, poor.

Other findings include:
  • Half want the Supreme Court to consider what the words of the Constitution mean in our time and 43 percent believe the court should consider only how the provision was understood at the time it was written. There are large partisan differences, with 80 percent of Democrats favoring what the words mean in our time and 74 percent of Republicans favoring limiting interpretation to what the words meant to the document's drafters. Independents are evenly split.
  • Almost half say Kagan's ideological beliefs are best described as liberal, and 36 percent say moderate, 3 percent conservative, and 14 percent are not sure. A majority of Democrats believes Kagan is moderate and 79 percent of Republicans say she is liberal.
  • Voters are far more likely to associate the term "activist judge" with justices appointed by Democratic presidents (46 percent) rather than those named by Republicans (18 percent).

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