More Americans oppose Kavanaugh nomination amid partisan rancor: poll

More Americans oppose Kavanaugh nomination amid partisan rancor: poll
© Getty Images

More Americans oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court than support it though opinions are still largely split and many remain undecided, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Monday.

The survey found that 37 percent of registered voters want their senators to give Kavanaugh’s nomination the thumbs up, while 44 percent want their senators to vote down President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE’s nominee. But 18 percent of respondents are undecided.

The snap poll was conducted from Sept. 29 to 30, two days after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on her allegations that the federal judge sexually assaulted her in high school in the 1980s.

ADVERTISEMENT

Male voters are the most split on Kavanaugh’s nomination, with 44 percent wanting their senators to vote in favor and another 44 percent wanting them to vote against the judge.

Among female voters, 44 percent want senators to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, while 31 percent want him confirmed. However, 24 percent remain undecided.

That gap widens among independent voters: 45 percent don’t back their senators confirming Kavanaugh, compared to 28 percent who want him confirmed.

Kavanaugh’s nomination remains in limbo now that the FBI has reopened its background investigation into the federal judge regarding Ford's allegations, delaying the confirmation vote by a week.

Kavanaugh has strongly denied Ford's allegations.

Two-thirds of voters said they support the decision to delay the confirmation vote to allow the FBI to investigate the accusations. When asked if Kavanaugh should be confirmed if the FBI finds no corroboration of the accusations, 60 percent said they believe he should be confirmed.

“The nomination hangs in the balance with the public set to approve it if the FBI finds no corroborating evidence,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.

But the poll also showed nearly two-thirds of voters — 63 percent — believe Kavanaugh will ultimately be confirmed.

Three-quarters of voters believe Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCongress needs to wake up to nuclear security threat Democrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits Pavlich: Where is Brett Kavanaugh’s apology? MORE (D-Calif.) should have immediately turned over the letter from Ford detailing the allegations to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein, the ranking member on that committee, has said she didn’t hand over the letter because Ford requested confidentiality.

“The voters agree the process has been a national disgrace and fault Sen. Feinstein for holding back the letter,” Penn said. “Democratic attempts to lengthen or broaden the FBI examination will likely play to their base only, which has hardened against it regardless of anything found or not found.”

The dueling testimonies from Kavanaugh and Ford on Thursday prompted a bitter partisan brawl between Democrats and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, with most of the committee’s 11 GOP members standing firmly in support of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Democrats, on the other hand, clashed with Kavanaugh at the emotional, hours-long hearing, during which the judge angrily sparred with Democrats and fiercely denied the allegations against him.

Prior to Thursday’s hearing, voters were still split on senators confirming Kavanaugh but about a quarter of respondents were still undecided. A poll conducted from Sept. 26 to 27 found that 38 percent believe senators should vote against confirming him, while 36 percent believe they should.

With the elections about five weeks away, it's still an open question over how the Supreme Court fight will impact the midterms and which base will be more energized over Kavanaugh's nomination.

In Monday's poll, voters appeared split on whether the Supreme Court battle will motivate them to vote. Forty-five percent of respondents say they're more likely to vote because of it, while 46 percent say it doesn't change whether they'll vote in November.

“Forty-five percent say the Kavanaugh battle will make them more likely to vote this midterm so interest is building,” Penn said.

Those numbers remain mostly the same among Republican voters, but half of Democratic voters say the battle over Kavanaugh makes them more likely to go to the polls.

But that number dips among independent voters, with 38 percent who say they’re more likely to go to the polls in November and a little over half — 54 percent — who say it doesn't change their voting decisions.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,330 registered voters was conducted September 29 to 30. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.