The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has the final say on heated political issues including abortion, civil rights, same-sex marriage and immigration, so it was thought to be telling that the American public was not familiar with an important figure of that court.
Scalia had a polarizing personality, and extremely conservative views. He voted twice to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and strongly opposed gay marriage and Affirmative Action. Despite his consistent dissent against liberal issues, his unfavorability rating among Republicans had been on the rise.
In 2005, 36% of American conservatives viewed Scalia favorably, versus only 7% who held an unfavorable view. By 2015, Scalia's favorable rating with conservatives dropped slightly to 34%, but his unfavorable rating had risen to 26%. Gallup Poll Senior Editor Jeff Jones surmised last year that this may have more to do with overall conservative dissatisfaction with the court, and less to do with Scalia’s votes.
The poll revealed that overall faith in the court was dropping. When Scalia assumed his position in 1986, 54% of Americans had a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Supreme Court, but when polled last June, confidence was at 32%.