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CNN Poll: Majority oppose Kavanaugh, but his popularity grows with GOP

The wrenching battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the high court left the public with sharply negati...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 8:08 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 8:08 PM

The wrenching battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the high court left the public with sharply negative impressions of the new Supreme Court justice and raised questions about his truthfulness, his temperament to serve and whether his partisan views would influence his work on the bench, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS in the final days of the fight over his confirmation.

Overall, 51% in the poll oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, up from 39% who opposed it in early September, after his initial confirmation hearing but before accusations of sexual misconduct emerged. Support for Kavanaugh's confirmation has merely inched up, by contrast, from 38% backing him in early September to 41% now.

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Much of that shift has happened among partisans, with both sides pulling further apart on everything Kavanaugh-related. Among Democrats, 63% opposed his nomination in early September, and that has risen to 91% in the new poll. Among Republicans, 74% backed him in September and 89% do so now.

RELATED: Full poll results

The public's take on Kavanaugh is much more negative than it was in early August, not long after President Donald Trump nominated him to fill the seat being vacated by Anthony Kennedy. Back then, 33% viewed him positively and 29% had a negative take. Now, nearly half have a negative view (47%) while 35% have a positive take.

Among Democrats, negative impressions of Kavanaugh have jumped 30 points, from 56% in August to 86% now. Positive views of Kavanaugh among Republicans have grown at the same time, increasing 18 points from 62% in August to 80% now. Among women, 53% now have a negative view, up from 33% in August. Men split evenly, 41% positive to 41% negative, but that's still an increase in negative impressions compared with a 40% positive to 25% negative divide in August.

Shifts in impressions of Kavanaugh are coming most sharply at the extremes. The share who have a "very positive" view of Kavanaugh climbed from 17% to 24%, and "very negative" from 15% to 33%.

The survey was in the field when the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh's nomination to the court, but results from interviews conducted before the vote were not significantly different from those completed afterward

Beyond overall impressions, the poll finds a majority of Americans express doubts about Kavanaugh's truthfulness and freedom from political influence when considering cases.

All told, 52% of Americans say they believe the women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct over the judge's denials of those accusations (38% said they believed him more than the women). And half (50%) said they thought he lied about his alcohol use as a young adult, more than thought he was telling the truth about it (37%). Half say Kavanaugh's personal conduct has disqualified him to serve on the court, and 53% say his professional qualifications do not outweigh any questions about his personal conduct.

A larger majority, 56%, think Kavanaugh would be influenced by his personal political beliefs when considering cases before the Supreme Court. But the public was more evenly divided over whether Kavanaugh has the temperament to serve effectively on the court, 48% said he did not and 45% that he did.

Still, more say that Kavanaugh did face a "politically motivated smear campaign" (48%) than say he didn't face such an effort (41%).

Majorities disapprove of each party's handling of Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings: 55% disapprove of the GOP in the Senate, 56% of the Democrats in the Senate. In early September, before the second hearing, set to address the allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, 45% disapproved of each party's handling of the confirmation hearings.

Partisans on both sides are more apt to disapprove of how the other party's senators handled the confirmation hearing than they were a month ago, and both sides have become more positive toward their own senators at the same time. Among Democrats, 59% approved of the Democrats in the Senate in September, 67% do so now. Among Republicans, approval for their own partisans has risen from 68% last time to 77% now.

And Trump's approval rating has risen in this poll: 41% approve now, compared with 36% in early September. Those who approve of the President largely say they are driven more by his views on the issues (72%) than by his personality and leadership qualities (21%), while those who disapprove are more apt to do so because of his personality (52%) than his issue positions (38%).

One other Republican politician appears to have gotten a boost out of the hearings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's favorability rating stands at 30% favorable to 45% unfavorable in the new poll. While that's not exactly positive, it is McConnell's most positive favorability rating since December of 2010. Among Republicans, 62% currently have a favorable view of McConnell, up from 31% viewing him positively when CNN last asked his favorability rating, in September 2017.

All told, 56% of Americans, including 64% of women, say it's a major problem that two of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices faced charges of sexual harassment or assault during their confirmation hearings, another 16% call that a minor problem and 23% not a problem. About half overall, 51%, see it as a problem because they believe the allegations against Kavanaugh and Justice Clarence Thomas are true, 16% say it's a problem because they think those allegations are false and 6% aren't sure.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS October 4 through 7 among a random national sample of 1,009 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
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Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
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Lawrence15223
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Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
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Randolph453
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Brown331
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Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
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Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
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Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
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Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
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