Conservative Groups Push Senators To Oppose Kagan Despite Likelihood Of Confirmation

Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court is pretty close to a done deal. Tuesday morning the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to send her to the full Senate for an up-or-down vote that is unlikely to have much in the way of political intrigue. But the political industrial complex that is conservative opposition to any Democrat’s nominee still believes there’s a job to be done, and the Judicial Crisis Network has released a survey showing voters in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Nebraksa oppose Kagan’s nomination.

JCN operatives say this survey suggests voters will “bring their opposition to Kagan into the voting booth” this fall.The poll, conducted via phone by Republican pollster Magellan, surveyed 1,145 Wisconsin voters, 885 voters in Nebraska and 897 voters in Arkansas. In Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln is facing a tough reelection fight, just 28 percent of the people in JCN’s survey supported Kagan while 54 percent opposed the nominee.

In Wisconsin, where Sen. Russ Feingold also is on the ropes, it’s 41 percent supporting to 43 percent opposed. In Nebraska, home to key centrist Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson (up for reelection in 2012), 33 percent supported Kagan and 48 percent opposed her. In an unsurprising development, voters’ opinions of Kagan went down when given loaded questions such as “Elena Kagan has no judicial experience.”

After a series of similar statements, respondents were asked if they were more or less likely to support Lincoln, Feingold and Nelson should the senator support Kagan’s nomination. On Lincoln, the results were 49% said they were less likely to support her reelection bid if she voted for Kagan; 22% said they were more likely to back Lincoln; and 29% said it made no difference. On Feingold, the results were: 48% said they were less likely to support his reelection bid if he voted for Kagan; 32% said they were more likely to back Feingold; and 20% said it made no difference.

The Nelson question noted his seat isn’t up until 2012 and asked “If the election for US Senate was being held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were Ben Nelson, Democrat or Dave Heineman, Republican?” The poll showed 57.5% would choose Heineman, 28% would pick Nelson and 14.6% were undecided.

Magellan told surveyed voters that “If confirmed, Elena Kagan is likely to rule in favor of President Obama’s health care bill.” This is a topic TPM has explored in depth, and it is likely the case will end up before the high court.

Meanwhile, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop told senators he opposes Kagan’s nomination based on her record on abortion.

As we noted last week, Kagan cleared a major hurdle when Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) announced he would support her nomination. He’d opposed her confirmation to the solicitor general post in February 2009 when he was still a Republican. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) remains a big question mark, as he is a moderate on some issues and a target for tea partiers attempting to block Kagan’s nomination.