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Poll: Most Americans Still Unfamiliar with Elena Kagan

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Just under half of Americans have been following news about the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, a new CBS News poll finds. Still, more than seven in 10 Americans have not yet formed an opinion of her - which is not unusual this early in the nomination process.

Now, 16 percent have a favorable view of Kagan, according to the poll, conducted May 20 - 24. Eleven percent have an unfavorable view.

President Obama nominated Kagan earlier this month to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. As solicitor general, Kagan has served as the federal government's top lawyer. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the fourth woman to ever join the Supreme Court. Special Report: Elena Kagan
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Democrats have a more positive impression of Kagan (31 percent view her favorably) than Republicans (7 percent) or independents (11 percent).

About half of Americans think it is important for there to be another woman on the Supreme Court - but those views have dropped since Sonia Sotomayor was nominated last year. Then, two in three Americans thought it was important for another woman to sit on the court; now, 48 percent feel that way.

More from the poll:

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Poll: Most Americans Still Unfamiliar with Elena Kagan
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Read the Complete Poll

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1054 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone May 20-24, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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