Washington (CNN) - Many Americans express concern over Elena Kagan's lack of experience as a judge, but they currently don't think she is too liberal for a seat on the Supreme Court and a majority say that the U.S. Senate should vote for confirm her, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 54 percent of the public says that Kagan should be confirmed to the high court, with 36 percent saying that senators should not confirm President Obama's nominee for associate justice to the high court.
Obama nominated Kagan, who serves as the Justice Department's solicitor general, on May 10 to fill the seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens, who announced his retirement in April, after 34 years on the high court. The Senate Judiciary Committee begins its confirmations hearings for Kagan on June 28.
"Kagan's nomination is getting virtually the same support that every Supreme Court nominee received in the past two decades, with one exception, Harriet Miers, the last nominee with no judicial experience," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "While Miers' public support never climbed above 44 percent, 54 percent majority want the Senate to confirm Kagan - virtually the same amount of support that Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas got shortly after their nominations to the Court."
According to the poll, eight in 10 say that Kagan is qualified for the high court, but only one in seven say she's among the most qualified people that the president could have nominated. Fifty-two percent of those questioned say that they are less likely to support Kagan because she has never served as a judge.
"That compares to the 46 percent who felt that way about Miers in 2005, when she was briefly George W. Bush's pick for the high court." adds Holland. "Kagan shares another trait with Miers that concerns the public - 53 percent say they are less likely to support Kagan because her views on most major issues are not well known. That compares to 49 percent expressed the same opinion of Miers in 2005."
The survey also indicates that four in ten say that Kagan is too liberal, and 36 percent believe her views are too extreme. But most say that her views would be "about right" for the Court, similar to the numbers that Alito, Roberts, Ginsburg and Thomas got in polls taken while their confirmation process was underway.
If confirmed, for the first time in the country's history three women would be sitting on the high court at the same time. But eight in 10 say that Kagan's gender makes no difference when it comes to supporting her nomination. Three in ten say Kagan's work with the Obama administration makes them less likely to support her, with 26 percent saying it makes them more likely to support her, and 44 percent saying it makes no difference.
When Kagan served as dean of Harvard Law School, she barred military recruiters from the law school campus because the U.S. did not allow openly gay people to serve in the military. The survey indicates that four in ten say her actions make no difference, with 39 percent saying it makes them less likely to support her nomination and 19 percent saying it makes them more likely to back her.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
- CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report