Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Startling Polling Result

I suppose you can say that it doesn’t count because it comes from Rasmussen. But that doesn’t make this polling result any less startling:

“Voters have an increasingly unfavorable opinion of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan but are more convinced than ever that she will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of U.S. voters now hold a favorable opinion of Kagan but 47% view her unfavorably, up from 43% a week ago and 39% just after President Obama announced her nomination.

“These findings include 15% with a Very Favorable opinion and 23% who regard her Very Unfavorably. This, too, marks a shift from the first survey when Kagan’s Very Favorables were 18% and Very Unfavorables were 17%.

"By comparison, the president’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, maintained favorables around 50% through the first three surveys following her selection, with unfavorables falling to 40%.

"With Senate hearings on Kagan’s nomination set to begin June 28, 36% of voters now favor her confirmation, but 39% are opposed. One-out-of-four (25%) are undecided.”
Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t see anything about Kagan that should be especially distressing from anybody’s standpoint across the ideological spectrum. Compare her to Sotomayor, who was markedly more popular at this stage of the confirmation process.

Kagan hasn’t given any “Wise Latina” speeches that raise reasonable doubts about her impartiality and judicial temperament. Although some people fault her for decisions about military recruiting at Harvard, Kagan's associated with no public decision that tugs at the heartstrings like Sotomayor's brusque dismissal of an employment discrimination claim by a dyslexic fireman who was denied a promotion because of his race that he’d arguably earned by achieving a high score in a competitive examination despite his disability--and then had the decision overturned by the Supreme Court.

The most salient thing about Kagan is that Obama picked her. Doubts about her can only be driven by doubts about him.

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