With a Senate Judiciary Committee vote expected today, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds supporters of Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination outnumbering opponents by 2-1.
Fifty-three percent of Americans favor the nomination, with 25 percent opposed and the rest expressing no opinion. Support’s softened a bit from 58 percent before Kagan’s Senate testimony three weeks ago, with more undecided. Nonetheless it mirrors support for some previous successful nominees, including Samuel Alito (53 percent), John Roberts (55 percent) and Stephen Breyer (52 percent) in final pre-confirmation measurements.
Kagan’s backing is sharply (and customarily) partisan – 72 percent from Democrats vs. 29 percent among Republicans, with independents, as ever, tipping the balance, giving her 53 percent support. She’s favored by 71 percent of liberals and 62 percent of moderates, vs. 37 percent of conservatives. Her support peaks among African-Americans (the most loyal Democratic group), at 83 percent; and bottoms out among conservative Republicans, at 22 percent. It’s essentially identical among men and women, 52 percent vs. 54 percent.
The 5-point decline in Kagan’s support after her confirmation hearings is not unprecedented; Sonia Sotomayor and Roberts each had slight, 4-point dips in their support. Clarence Thomas rode a roller coaster during and after his tumultuous hearings, with support for his nomination first dropping by 16 points, then regaining 12.
This result's from our ABC/Post poll of July 7-11, with 1,288 interviews. The question: "As you may know, Obama has nominated U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Do you think the U.S. Senate should or should not confirm Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court?"