Judging the Kavanaugh effect in key Senate races

President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have said they'll turn the vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confi...

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 1:54 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2018 1:54 PM

President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have said they'll turn the vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court into an asset in November, while Democrats have made it clear they'd rather talk about health care or taxes.

There's evidence that in swing states critical to Democrats' Senate hopes in the Midwest, support for Kavanaugh could hurt several incumbent Democrats. Others, less endangered, could see a bump from their opposition to him. The region has become a key battleground in 2018 as Democrats try to regain momentum where Trump beat them in 2016.

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Trump's approval rating is at 42% across Midwestern states, according to a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS, about the same as nationwide, where it's 41%. While the Midwest as a whole didn't support Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court (40% said to vote in favor, 52% not), many Democratic senators are fighting for re-election in the most deeply red states in the region.

Missouri's senior senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill, is one of those up for re-election. She said the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh were "troubling" but were not her reason for voting against his confirmation.

In a Fox news poll released before Kavanaugh was confirmed, 42% of likely voters in the Missouri US Senate election said McCaskill's vote on Kavanaugh wouldn't make a difference in their Senate votes. A quarter said it would make them more likely to vote for McCaskill if she opposed Kavanaugh and slightly more -- 29% -- said it'd make them less likely.

Most people said they had already made up their minds who to vote for -- 75% of likely McCaskill voters said they're certain to support her in November. McCaskill was tied with Republican Josh Hawley at 43% in the poll.

Another Fox poll from the same batch of Midwestern surveys looked at how the Kavanaugh vote might affect the US Senate race in Indiana, where Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is hoping to survive a race rated as Toss Up by CNN. For Donnelly, it really is split. A third of likely voters said that if he voted against Kavanaugh's confirmation it wouldn't make a difference how they would vote in the Senate race, 32% said it would make them less likely to vote for him and 30% said it would make them more likely. Donnelly refused to support the judge and voted with his party.

In an NBC/Marist poll in Wisconsin, which is safer Democratic territory that CNN rates as Likely Democratic, a plurality (41%) of registered voters said before Kavanaugh's confirmation that they were more likely to support a congressional candidate who opposed his nomination. In the same poll, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin held a 14-point lead in the race for Senate among likely voters.

Finally, in North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is in dangerous territory. She's a Democrat in a seat CNN rates as Lean Republican and she's been down in the polls. There's evidence that her contentious vote against Kavanaugh might have further hurt her chances. Fox's polling showed 17% of likely voters said her opposition to Kavanaugh would make them more likely to support her, but double that -- 34% -- said it would make them less likely to back her. Nearly half, 46%, said her vote against Kavanaugh wouldn't affect their decision.

Among those who plan to vote for her re-election, 52% said it doesn't make a difference whether she voted to support or oppose Kavanaugh's nomination. However, among those who plan to vote for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, her challenger, 54% said her voting against Brett Kavanaugh would make them less likely to vote for her in November.

Trump's approval rating among likely voters in North Dakota in the Fox poll is 64%, significantly higher than the rest of the country and the Midwest as a whole.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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