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.

Brett Kavanaugh

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Political parties

Politics

Sex crimes

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US federal court system

US federal government

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

US Supreme Court

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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 306538

Reported Deaths: 5435
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41953849
Lake26872453
Allen17621295
Elkhart16905219
St. Joseph16524223
Hamilton12696167
Vanderburgh9552115
Tippecanoe844927
Porter813785
Johnson6231165
Vigo597979
Hendricks5944156
Monroe530349
Clark504077
Madison4858121
Delaware4820103
LaPorte457194
Kosciusko455739
Howard334975
Warrick319572
Floyd311477
Bartholomew308462
Wayne301367
Cass295831
Marshall293744
Grant262949
Noble249846
Hancock246551
Boone240254
Henry240237
Dubois234631
Dearborn215730
Jackson212633
Morgan204443
Gibson181725
Knox181419
Shelby178254
Clinton177821
Lawrence174047
DeKalb172829
Adams166422
Wabash158020
Miami157814
Daviess154643
Fayette147733
Steuben143513
Jasper142111
Harrison141824
LaGrange140129
Montgomery139027
Whitley133412
Ripley128114
Decatur124643
Huntington123510
Putnam123027
Randolph120719
Wells120428
White120321
Clay119822
Posey119616
Jefferson116216
Scott103219
Greene101353
Jay96413
Starke90621
Sullivan88916
Fulton83518
Jennings83214
Spencer8198
Perry81521
Fountain7738
Washington7417
Franklin68626
Carroll67913
Orange66628
Vermillion5993
Owen5987
Parke5606
Newton55312
Tipton55226
Rush5317
Blackford51912
Pike50318
Pulaski37710
Martin3515
Benton3362
Brown3353
Crawford2881
Union2671
Switzerland2555
Warren2382
Ohio2307
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371840

Reported Deaths: 6100
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin50231667
Cuyahoga36047741
Hamilton29931372
Montgomery20065228
Butler14769146
Lucas14317414
Summit13388316
Stark8792197
Warren819175
Mahoning7276299
Lake682666
Lorain643499
Clermont577248
Delaware556436
Licking549276
Fairfield538464
Trumbull5305147
Greene522364
Clark511464
Allen465485
Marion465251
Wood4491107
Medina447756
Miami425867
Pickaway399348
Columbiana347297
Portage344872
Tuscarawas328658
Wayne318793
Richland316638
Mercer289945
Hancock241337
Ross240759
Muskingum240210
Auglaize231031
Putnam224749
Erie224266
Darke223559
Ashtabula223253
Geauga203351
Scioto195915
Union19118
Shelby190615
Lawrence189438
Athens18864
Seneca180018
Belmont164929
Madison158918
Sandusky154229
Preble152621
Huron152318
Defiance139522
Holmes139139
Logan127816
Knox126318
Fulton124525
Washington121927
Crawford121516
Ottawa121130
Clinton106714
Williams10579
Ashland105222
Highland101317
Jefferson10124
Henry100023
Brown9925
Champaign9475
Jackson93112
Hardin91019
Fayette90317
Van Wert8976
Morrow8882
Guernsey83914
Coshocton82613
Perry78712
Adams78313
Pike7451
Gallia73513
Wyandot71216
Paulding64611
Hocking62616
Noble60223
Carroll45710
Meigs39012
Monroe31821
Morgan2575
Vinton2195
Harrison2023
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 44°
Angola
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 41°
Van Wert
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 41°
Rain Continues Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events