Accusation Against Kavanaugh Barely Moves Public Opinion… So Far

Official Washington has been convulsed by recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. However, a national survey found that the accusations have had little impact on American voters.

Before his confirmation hearings, 48% of voters wanted their Senator to confirm Kavanaugh. After the hearings, but before the accusations, 52% favored confirmation. Now, after the accusations, that number is 49% (see trends).  Keep in mind that the poll has a 3-point margin of error.

We will continue to track this and related data throughout the confirmation process (sign up for email updates).

At the moment, 79% believe it is at least Somewhat Likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. That’s down slightly from 84% before the accusations. The number who believe he is Very Likely to be confirmed fell from 38% to 29%.

Perhaps most surprising of all is that only 27% are following the Kavanaugh news Very Closely. That’s unchanged since before the accusations were made.

Collectively, the numbers suggest that voters view the allegations as a political Rorschach test. Everyone is seeing what they expect (or want) to see. When it comes to Kavanaugh, the electorate remains deeply divided along partisan and ideological lines.

This survey of 997 Registered Voters was conducted for on September 17-18, 2018 by HarrisX, a leading research firm specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). The statistical margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings,  51% had a favorable opinion of the nominee.  That increased to 55% following the hearings and is down to 48% today. The shift occurred primarily among those who do not have strong opinions of the Kavanaugh.

Today, 23% have a Very Favorable opinion of the Judge while 21% have a Very Unfavorable view. Prior to the allegations, those figure were 22% and 18% (see question wording and crosstabs).

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public hearing for next Monday allowing both Kavanaugh and his accuser to make their case. It is certainly possible that those televised hearings could have a more significant impact than anything released to this point.

Questions about Kavanaugh and his confirmation were asked of all voters except those who said they were not following the story at all.

All of our data is presented to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). See all of our polling data releases.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).


Posted in Poll Results

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