Kavanaugh disapproval outnumbering support
WASHINGTON» More Americans disapprove of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court than approve, and a narrow majority says congressional investigation of the new justice should not end with his elevation to the court, according to a new Washington PostABC News poll.
The Senate’s 5048 vote last weekend to approve the 53yearold Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment was the closest on a Supreme Court justice since the 1880s, and the poll shows the public’s reaction was almost as divided.
It also suggests the tumultuous battle over his nomination could harm the court’s reputation as the nonpartisan branch of government.
The survey — conducted during Kavanaugh’s first week on the bench — shows that 43 percent of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with President Donald Trump’s second nominee on the court, compared with 10 percent who said they will be less political. To 39 percent of the public, Kavanaugh’s presence will make no difference in the degree of partisanship.
Asked how the Kavanaugh debate would impact their midterm vote, slightly more say it makes them more inclined to support Democrats for Congress than Republicans. Women say the episode draws them toward Democrats over Republicans by a 16point margin, while men are more evenly split.
While many of the results in the poll fall along familiar partisan lines, it also found that political independents are more suspicious than supportive of the new justice. According to the survey, 55 percent of independents say there should be further investigation of Kavanaugh, while 40 percent are opposed.
The stakes were high, and the partyline fight over Kavanaugh was brutal. It was marked by allegations of excessive drinking in high school and college and a teenage sexual assault and other misconduct. Democrats at his confirmation hearing further accused Kavanaugh of dishonesty over his answers to questions regarding his work in the George W. Bush White House.
Republican senators said the alle gations of sexual misconduct were uncorroborated and vicious, the result of desperate attempts from Democrats and liberal groups to keep Kavanaugh — for 12 years a respected conservative judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — off the high court.
At a White House ceremony Monday night, Trump apologized to the new justice for “the terrible pain and suffering” he and his family were “forced to endure.” Trump said Kavanaugh had been found “innocent” of the charges against him, even though the senators came to no such determination.
The poll suggests disagreement with Trump’s view that Kavanaugh had been exonerated, and does not support the notion of a national backlash against the attacks on Kavanaugh, as some Republicans have suggested.
Rather, the results show the political consequences may be more mixed. Slightly more registered voters say the Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings make them more likely to support Democrats for Congress than Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, though a 39 percent plurality say it doesn’t make a difference.