Poll: Americans Have Yet to Figure Out What an Elena Kagan Actually Is

The debates on Elena Kagen's sexuality, her haftorah portion, her New Yorker street cred, and her awesome friends aside, the point is that - according to a new CBS poll - most Americans know that...they still know nothing about current U.S. Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen.

CBS News polled 1054 respondents, and out of them:

  • 16% hold "favorable" views of Kagan
  • 11% hold "unfavorable" views of Kagan, and
  • 72% are "undecided/haven't heard enough" about Kagan.

According to CBS News, this kind of pattern is pretty normal early on in the nomination process, but don't these numbers just seem strikingly low for someone who's going to hold one of the most important positions in this country for life? Kagan was nominated on May 10, 2010, and the poll was conducted from May 20th to May 24th. Ten days later, and almost 7 out of 10 Americans don't know what to think about her?

On the one hand, how do only under 30% of respondents have an opinion on Kagan? On the other, though: This might actually demonstrate the kind of nuance (and maybe patience) that American politics could use more of. Or be cause for celebration by Kagan's short-leash handlers. Whether normal or not, at the very least, Americans not being evangelically divided by an Important American Politician certainly feels strange.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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