Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee has helped him in the court of public opinion. The gains are the result of a growing gender gap. His numbers are little changed among women but improved among men.
Among those following the story, the Judge’s approval ratings had fallen to 44% by the morning of the hearing. And, at that time, the number with a Very Unfavorable opinion of him (28%) was larger than the number with a Very Favorable opinion (20%). Just 45% of those following the story wanted him confirmed (see day-by-day tracking results).
Polling conducted immediately after the hearing on Thursday night and Friday morning showed that his favorables had jumped seven points to 51% (among those following the story). The number wanting him confirmed improved a couple of points to 47%.
On Friday night and Saturday, September 28 and 29, ScottRasmussen.com surveyed 1,806 Registered Voters and found further improvements in perceptions of Kavanaugh. Of those, 1,603 have been following the story at least a bit.
Among those following the story, his favorability increased to 53%. The number with a Very Favorable opinion (28%) is now a bit higher than the number with a Very Unfavorable opinion (25%). And 49% of those following the story want to see him confirmed.
It’s important to note that changing perceptions of Kavanaugh have always been around the margins. Our first poll on this topic was conducted in mid-August before his confirmation hearings. Since then, among those following the story, his favorability ratings have ranged from a low of 44% to a high of 55%. The low was reached this past week just before the Judiciary Committee hearings. The high was reached in early September following his first round of public confirmation hearings (and before Dr. Ford’s allegations were made public).
Additionally, as noted yesterday, the partisan gap is much bigger than the gender gap when it comes to Kavanaugh. Most Republican women want to see him confirmed and most Democratic men don’t. However, while that is still the case, the gender gap has widened since Thursday.
In the three days leading up to Thursday’s hearing, 43% of women following the story wanted him confirmed. Forty-nine percent (49%) of men shared that view leading to a six-point gender gap. In the Friday-Saturday poll, that gap had grown to 11-points. The number of women supporting his confirmation remained unchanged but the number of men favoring it increased to 54%.
On his favorability ratings, the gap grew from 5 points before the hearing to 15 points on Saturday. That, too, was driven by stable levels among women and better ratings among men.
As always, single day results are less reliable than ongoing trends or larger samples. On Monday, we will have a full three-days of polling since the Judiciary Committee hearing and we will be able to compare it with the three days prior.
Finally, it’s important to note that interest in this news story has grown significantly. Last Wednesday, the number following it Very Closely was 32%. That grew to 36% on Thursday morning, 38% on Friday and 40% in the latest data. Overall, 74% of voters are following the story Very or Somewhat Closely. That’s the highest total measured thus far.
Kavanaugh’s numbers are a bit better among those following the story Very Closely.
The number not following the story at all dropped from 20% when Dr. Ford’s allegations were first made public to 11% now.
The survey of 1,806 Registered Voters was conducted on September 28-29, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a leading research firm specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). The statistical margin of error for the full sample is +/- 2.3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.