Analysts predict Collins more likely to listen to constituents than outside groups on Kavanaugh

Pollster Dan Cox and Morning Consult reporter Joanna Piacenza predicted Friday that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is more likely to listen to her constituents as opposed to outside groups on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

“I think that these outside interest groups aren’t going to play a huge role in the outside calculations,” Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.” 

“I think the senator [Collins] will be paying very close attention to the sentiment back home, and so I’m sure her staff are closely monitoring that,” he continued. 

“I’m sure her staff knows that a majority of Mainers actually support abortion. So to the extent that there’s a possibility that Kavanaugh could be a pivotal swing voter on Roe v. Wade, this vote could be problematic for her down the road, depending on how she votes,” he said. 

Liberal group “Be a Hero” has raised $1.5 million in pledges to use for a potential 2020 election challenger if Collins votes for Kavanaugh.

Piacenza said she believes Collins will also listen to her constituents in the wake of Thursday’s hearing featuring Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her when they were high schoolers in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

“What I’m hearing is that allegedly, privately, she’s raising some concerns about his temperament that he showed yesterday, and all of these allegations coming in after Ford, I think there is some concern there,” Piacenza said. 

“I do think she’s going to end up listening to her constituents more than these groups,” she added. 

Kavanaugh forcefully denied sexual assault allegations against himself during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, speaking after Ford delivered gripping testimony before the panel describing her allegations.

Collins is considered one of the crucial swing votes needed by Republicans to get Kavanaugh confirmed. 

— Julia Manchester