Following a controversial New York Times article resurfacing allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court Justice is viewed favorably by 36% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 49%. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey also found that the New York Times is viewed favorably by 56% of voters and unfavorably by 40%.
A month ago, our regular Supreme Court update found that Kavanaugh was viewed favorably by 30% and unfavorably by 35%. That may suggest that the NY Times succeeded in driving up negative perceptions of the Justice, at least temporarily. However, caution should be exercised for two reasons. First, this survey specifically focused on issues involving both the NY Times and Kavanaugh. The earlier survey simply included Kavanaugh’s name amidst a list of all other Supreme Court Justices. Additionally, while both surveys offered a “Never Heard Of” response option, the earlier survey also let respondents say they had no opinion of Kavanaugh and other Justices.
In October, we will run our regular Supreme Court survey update to directly measure any lasting impact of the story.
Despite the predictions of many pundits, the heated Kavanaugh confirmation hearings did not lessen public confidence in the Supreme Court over the past year.
When it comes to political news stories, 38% believe the New York Times is likely to carefully report the facts of an incident. However, 37% believe they will simply use an incident to promote their own ideological agenda. Not surprisingly, this breaks down along partisan lines. Most Democrats (57%) believe the paper will carefully report the facts while most Republicans (60%) take the opposite view. Independent voters are evenly divided (see crosstab results).
Last year, during the confirmation hearings, there were extremely different partisan reactions to every aspect of the proceedings.
The survey recorded a low level of knowledge about the details of the story. Just 24% are aware that the lawyer who allegedly raised the new allegations worked for Democratic President Bill Clinton. Only 34% know that the alleged victim has no recollection of any such event. Most (55%) know that, in testimony last year Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said that she and one of her best friends attended a party together when Kavanaugh assaulted her. However, only 33% are aware that her friend does not believe the story.
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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted September 19-20, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and a Demographic Profile of the sample). Results from the full sample have +/-3.1 Margin of Sampling Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).