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The Washington Independent

Elena Who? Only 19 Percent of Poll Respondents Can Name SCOTUS Nominee

With just four days remaining until Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin, a new poll showed a markedly low percentage of

Katharine Tate
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 24, 2010

With just four days remaining until Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin, a new poll showed a markedly low percentage of people know she is President Obama’s nominee.

A C-SPAN-commissioned poll released today shows just 19 percent of people surveyed could name Kagan as the nominee. That figure may appear unsurprising, given that a Findlaw.com poll from earlier this month found that only 35 percent of people could name even one of the current justices. However, a similar C-SPAN poll conducted just prior to Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings showed a far higher percentage — 43 percent — could then name her as the nominee.

C-SPAN did not speculate in its press release on why Kagan’s name recognition is so much lower than Sotomayor’s was at this point in the confirmation process. I will only venture to guess that a major factor here is that Sotomayor got a great deal of media attention for being the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee.

Recent polls show generally tepid support for Kagan. In C-SPAN’s poll, 38 percent of respondents supported her, 30 percent didn’t and 33 percent didn’t have an opinion. Kagan’s rating was higher in a USA Today/Gallup poll from earlier his month, giving her an approval spread of 46-32 percent. Rasmussen Reports released a poll yesterday that gave her a negative approval rating — 35 percent thought she should be confirmed, while 42 percent did not.

Updated at 4:15 p.m.

Katharine Tate | I’m a native of Massachusetts, where I earned bachelor's degrees in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and Sculpture from Brandeis University. I enjoy assisting and inspiring women in all aspects of their lives, and I consider myself a partner in their OB an GYN treatment. I particularly enjoy forming relationships with young women and assisting them in determining their healthcare needs and goals. I love to travel, create metal and fiber art, cook, and spend time outside. Also, I’m fluent in both German and American Sign Language.


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