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Support for Brett Kavanaugh is dwindling among voters amid sexual assault allegations

Multiple polls show that voters are souring on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh leaves his home September 19, 2018 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh leaves his home September 19, 2018 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covered business and economics for Vox and wrote the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Voter support for Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed to the Supreme Court appears to be dwindling amid allegations from California professor Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her while both were in high school.

A Fox News poll released on Sunday found that 50 percent of registered voters oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, while 40 percent want to confirm him to the United States’ highest court. The same poll last month found that 46 percent of voters opposed him and 45 percent approved.

This is not the first poll to show Americans souring on Kavanaugh: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this week found that opposition to his confirmation increased 9 points since last month. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they opposed him and 34 percent said they supported, compared to 29 percent opposing him and 33 percent supporting him in August.

Another USA Today/Ipsos Public Affairs Poll, also released this week, found that 40 percent of Americans believe the US Senate shouldn’t approve Kavanaugh’s nomination, and 31 percent believe it should.

Increased opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination comes amid allegations from Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. She says that at a party in the 1980s while they were both in high school, he pinned her down on a bed, attempted to remove her clothing, and covered her mouth when she tried to scream as his friend Mark Judge looked on.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations. He and Ford are tentatively set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about them on Thursday.

According to the Fox News poll, more voters believe Ford’s allegations (36 percent) than they do Kavanaugh’s denials (30 percent). About one-third say they don’t know whom to believe.

There are sharp divisions among parties and demographics: 59 percent of Democrats believe Ford, and 60 percent of Republicans believe Kavanaugh. Women believe Ford by a 10-point margin, 38 percent to 28 percent, while men believe her by a one-point difference, 34 percent to 33 percent. Forty-five percent of suburban women believe Ford and 28 percent Kavanaugh; 10 percent of Trump voters believe Ford and 62 percent Kavanaugh.

A majority of voters do think the Senate should hear more about the allegations. Fifty-six percent of registered voters think the Senate should delay the confirmation process on Kavanaugh to allow hearings on Ford’s claims, while 31 percent do not.

That’s already happened, at least to some extent. The Senate Judiciary Committee originally had a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination scheduled for September 20. It was pushed back as the committee negotiated with Ford’s lawyers over details of the hearing that’s now tentatively set for Thursday.

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