A new Pew poll reports more Americans now have an opinion of defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel — and it has not improved.
According to the poll, 22 percent hold a favorable opinion of Hagel, while 28 percent view him unfavorably; 50 percent have no opinion.
The poll puts recognition of Hagel at a higher clip than a month ago, when 65 percent said they had no opinion of the former Nebraska senator. In that poll, 18 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Hagel, while 17 percent held an unfavorable view.
Pew notes the percentage of people who view Hagel very unfavorably “has nearly doubled” from 7 percent to 13 percent.
Hagel has had a difficult nomination process; the latest trouble for the Nebraska Republican has come from a pair of contemporary accounts of comments made by Hagel at Rutgers University in 2007 and 2010.
Hagel allegedly told a Rutgers audience in 2010 that Israel is approaching an apartheid state and described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “radical,” according to an attendee of the event, as the Washington Free Beacon reported this week.
In a contemporaneous account of Hagel’s 2007 appearance at Rutgers, Hagel is described by a supporter as saying the State Department is now an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office during the question and answer session following his speech.