CNN Poll: Brett Kavanaugh nomination has lowest public support since Robert Bork

Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, receives a cooler public reception than nearly...

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 5:43 AM
Updated: Aug 17, 2018 5:43 AM

Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, receives a cooler public reception than nearly every nominee for the last four administrations, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Women are a driving force behind the tepid response, with fewer than three in 10 saying Kavanaugh ought to be confirmed.

Overall, 37% of Americans say they'd like to see the Senate vote in favor of his confirmation. Kavanaugh's support is the lowest in polling dating back to Robert Bork's nomination by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. That's lower support for Kavanaugh than similar public assessments of the unsuccessful nominations of Merrick Garland and Harriet Miers, as well as all successful nominees save David Souter, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, for whom equivalent data are not available. Slightly more, 40%, say the Senate should not vote to confirm Kavanaugh, while 22% have no opinion on the matter. And Americans' first impressions of the judge are mixed: 33% have a generally positive take, 27% neutral and 29% generally negative.

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Related: Full poll results

Republicans are broadly supportive of Kavanaugh: 74% would like to see him confirmed, while independents split 38% to 38% and Democrats largely oppose his nomination (67% say he should not be confirmed). Republicans and independents were each more supportive of Neil Gorsuch's confirmation in the first weeks of Trump's time in office (84% of Republicans and 47% of independents favored his confirmation).

Women, in particular, are notably opposed to Kavanaugh's nomination, and it's not just partisanship driving the difference. Just 28% of women say the Senate should vote in favor of confirming Kavanaugh, compared with 47% of men. That gender gap extends to Democrats (6% of Democratic women support confirmation vs. 22% of Democratic men), and independents (28% of women vs. 47% of men). There's a far smaller gap between GOP women (71%) and men (77%).

Women are also less likely than men to say Kavanaugh's views are mainstream. Just 35% of women consider them to be mainstream vs. 50% of men. Here, there is a meaningful gender gap between Republican women (60% mainstream) and GOP men (77%), as well as between independent women (39% mainstream) and independent men (53%), while the gender gap among Democrats is negligible (23% of Democratic men and 19% of Democratic women consider his views mainstream). Overall, 42% of Americans say Kavanaugh's views are in the mainstream and 35% say they are too extreme.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that hearings on Kavanaugh's nomination will begin September 4, but Democrats on the committee have sought access to more information from Kavanaugh's time working in George W. Bush's White House. The poll found 41% of Americans say they want the government to provide more documents from Kavanaugh's career and 27% say Senate Democrats have enough information already.

More generally, with the Supreme Court vacancy coming in an election year, Americans are evenly split over whether the confirmation process ought to be handled by the current Congress (45% say so) or the one elected this November (44% say so). In 2016, with an open seat on the Court ahead of the presidential election, 57% said President Barack Obama ought to be able to make the nomination to fill the seat, 40% the president elected that November. That seat was ultimately filled by Trump with Gorsuch. A majority of independents were on the side of the "current" officials in both cases (52% the current Congress, 56% Obama), while Republicans and Democrats have largely switched sides on the matter.

On other issues, the same poll found the President's approval ratings this summer holding largely steady. On the economy, 49% approve now, the same as in June. His approval rating for handling foreign trade has likewise held roughly steady since June, with 38% approving now. The President earns his second highest approval rating in the poll (behind the economy) for his handling of taxes (45% approve), and his worst reviews for his work on environmental policy (31% approve).

Support for family reunifications

A majority, 53%, disapprove of the way the Trump administration is handling judge-ordered family reunifications for those immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally and separated from their children; 39% approve. That's slightly less negative than the president's approval rating for handling immigration generally: There, 58% disapprove, about the same as in a June poll, and 37% approve.

Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the government should do everything it can to keep those families together, even if that means fewer people who cross the border illegally are prosecuted. Just 27% say the government should prioritize prosecuting immigrants who enter the country illegally, even if it means their families could be separated.

There is a massive party divide on this question, with 94% of Democrats saying keeping families together should be the priority, while 58% of Republicans say the government should do everything it can to prosecute those entering illegally.

And here too, a large gender gap emerges: 74% of women say keeping families together should be the priority vs. 58% of men who say the same.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS August 9-12 among a random national sample of 1,002 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 3.9 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319381

Reported Deaths: 7354
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22264265
Hinds20634421
Harrison18381316
Rankin13862282
Jackson13677248
Madison10234224
Lee10050176
Jones8458167
Forrest7821153
Lauderdale7257242
Lowndes6498149
Lamar633688
Lafayette6298120
Washington5418136
Bolivar4835133
Panola4663110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4597146
Marshall4572105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc424973
Monroe4155135
Union415576
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock386087
Leflore3515125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn324172
Scott319374
Yazoo314171
Itawamba305077
Adams304885
Copiah299766
Coahoma298383
Simpson298189
Tippah291568
Prentiss283561
Leake271774
Marion271280
Covington267083
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251951
Newton248563
Tishomingo231267
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187554
Stone187433
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174032
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135247
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite126142
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica108027
Jefferson Davis107833
Claiborne103030
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin85023
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547873

Reported Deaths: 11274
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809141565
Mobile41984826
Madison35629523
Tuscaloosa26147458
Shelby25580254
Montgomery25075611
Baldwin21805313
Lee16248175
Calhoun14710325
Morgan14618285
Etowah14160362
Marshall12446230
Houston10757288
Elmore10292212
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10155250
Cullman9928200
Lauderdale9591248
DeKalb8963189
Talladega8455184
Walker7330280
Autauga7229113
Blount6937139
Jackson6905113
Colbert6406139
Coffee5622126
Dale4929114
Russell454541
Chilton4470116
Franklin430783
Covington4267122
Tallapoosa4127154
Escambia401180
Chambers3723123
Dallas3606156
Clarke352861
Marion3237106
Pike313978
Lawrence3124100
Winston283272
Bibb267664
Geneva257081
Marengo250665
Pickens236662
Barbour234559
Hale226678
Butler223771
Fayette217762
Henry193743
Cherokee187245
Randolph186944
Monroe179141
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155157
Cleburne153144
Lamar146237
Lowndes142053
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113230
Coosa111429
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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