Harvard Poll: Without Corroboration of Allegations, Large Majority of Americans Want Kavanaugh Confirmed

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Posted: Oct 03, 2018 10:25 AM
Harvard Poll: Without Corroboration of Allegations, Large Majority of Americans Want Kavanaugh Confirmed

Let's begin with some interesting national polling numbers about the Kavanaugh confirmation imbroglio, broken down by Democratic pollster Mark Penn.  He notes that as things stand right now, Americans tip slightly against Kavanaugh's confirmation -- but absent any strong corroboration of the charges against the nominee, a substantial majority would like to see him approved (via HotAir and The Hill):

If the FBI finds no corroboration of the charges, 60 percent believe that Kavanaugh should then be confirmed, according to a weekend Harvard CAPS/Harris poll...Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), feeling rather directly the corrosive split within the nation, has the support of the country in insisting upon a brief and limited FBI investigation before the final vote. Sixty-six percent of Americans support that decision, and that includes 80 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents but only 45 percent of Republicans...the credibility of their testimony does not appear to be the decisive factor. Rather, the question comes down to corroboration as the standard for tipping public opinion on whether Kavanaugh should ascend to the high court. In terms of the overall needle, after the testimony was heard, 37 percent say confirm the nomination, 44 percent say reject it, and 18 percent remain undecided, with Democrats going one way and Republicans the other. But once the voters are told that the named witnesses deny any knowledge of the allegation, this shifts to 57 percent who favor confirmation — and that goes up to 60 percent, if the FBI agrees there is no corroboration.

So a supermajority of independents, and nearly half of Republicans, favor the truncated and expedited FBI probe. This reinforces the instinct and logic I laid out in recommending this course of action late last week: It adds a layer of needed legitimacy to an eventual confirmation vote, all else being equal.  If the FBI cannot find corroboration for the charges against Kavanaugh, 60 percent of Americans favor confirmation.  As it stands, the more people learn about the facts of the case, the more likely they are to support Kavanaugh's approval. Penn points out that when a question correctly states that the named witnesses (by both Ford and Ramirez) cannot corroborate the accusations, confirmation support shoots up by 20 points to 57 percent.  As for the angry pointing of partisan fingers, voters aren't impressed with what they're seeing:

[Sixty-nine] percent agree with Kavanaugh’s pronouncement and Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) statement that the proceedings have been a “national disgrace.” Sen. Feinstein definitely is in the crosshairs, with 75 percent believing she should have turned over Ford’s letter months earlier so that this debacle might have been avoided. Graham has raised some serious questions about the actions of Ford’s lawyers and Feinstein’s legal referral, too. No one, clearly, is winning the partisan battle today — if anything, both parties are losing. Men, by 62 percent, say Democrats are to blame while women, by 57 percent, say Republicans are to blame for the partisanship they are seeing

What do people anticipate will actually happen? "Ultimately the public expects that the FBI will come back with little that’s new and 63 percent expect that the nomination will be approved."  We shall see.  Remember, the numbers we've just rehearsed are nationwide.  In some key Senate states, they're far more lopsided.  For instance, in a new poll out of North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is trailing her GOP challenger by a significant margin, and voters break very heavily in Kavanaugh's favor:


Indiana incumbent Joe Donnelly came out against Kavanaugh, but has semi-backtracked, pending the FBI probe.  He's refusing to talk about the issue in the interim.  And Joe Manchin got an earful from West Virginia voters at a recent parade:

Republicans blasted out this partial transcript:

When a voter asked how he would vote on Judge Kavanaugh, Manchin said he was waiting until the end of the week. Another voter repeatedly shouted Judge Kavanaugh’s name. Manchin could only muster a soft “Thank you.” A third voter yells “Vote for Kavanaugh.” Manchin just said “I hear you.” A woman asks Manchin “Are you going to vote for the Judge?” Manchin told her to wait until Friday. A fifth voter tells Manchin, “If you don’t vote for him, I won’t vote for you.” Manchin responded, “I get that a lot.”

A survey conducted after last week's hearings by a conservative pollster found that Manchin's constituents favor Kavanaugh's confirmation by a lopsided 30-point margin.