Voters give both parties low marks for handling Kavanaugh nomination

The bitter fight over the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughChief Justice Roberts wisely defers to California governor in church challenge  Supreme Court rules immigrants who fear torture can appeal deportations in court It wasn't just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled MORE left many Americans displeased with how each party handled the confirmation process, according to a new Hill.TV poll.

The American Barometer survey, conducted by the polling firm HarrisX, found that 47 percent of respondents disagreed with the way that Republicans handled the controversies surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination, while 51 percent agreed with their approach.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of respondents disagreed with how Democrats handled the confirmation process, while 45 percent agreed with their approach.

"It was a very divisive process that, frankly, left no one unscathed--except for maybe the president who managed to enshrine a conservative majority on the Supreme Court maybe for a generation," Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX, said Friday on "What America's Thinking."

Democratic voters' discontent with how their party's leadership responded appears to be the primary driver for why Democrats earned lower marks than Republicans in the American Barometer poll. Thirty-two percent of Democratic respondents disagreed with the party's response to the Kavanaugh controversies.

GOP leaders' actions were met with greater approval by their party's voters. Just 13 percent of Republican respondents said they disagreed with how President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says inviting Russia to G7 'a question of common sense' Pentagon chief does not support invoking Insurrection Act Dershowitz: Does President Trump have power to declare martial law? MORE and the GOP handled the nomination.

Fifty-three percent of self-identified independents in the survey said they disagreed with how Republicans handled the process, while 47 percent said they agreed. Independents were evenly split on how Democrats conducted themselves -- 50 percent approved, 50 percent disapproved.

Kavanaugh initially encountered stiff resistance from Democrats, who took issue with his conservative judicial philosophy. That opposition became much more fierce after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault from his high school and college years.

Kavanaugh, who was a judge on a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals at the time he was nominated, has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

Both parties came under criticism for how they responded to the allegations.

Republicans and Trump argued that Democrats should have raised the accusations much earlier in the process so that they could have been examined privately to avoid naming Kavanaugh's initial accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Democrats argued that the subsequent FBI investigation into the allegations was too narrow in scope.

"Voters were very split on how the Democrats handled it--how long they waited to release the allegations and the fact that both parties seemed to be less interested in the truth," Nesho said. "For both sides, they were more interested in political grandstanding and really a public courtroom and a show. And so you see that in both the numbers for the Democrats and the Republicans, voters are very, very split on how they handled the process."

The poll was conducted online Oct. 6-7 among 1,000 registered voters and has a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

--Matthew Sheffield