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U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Professor Christine Blasey Ford, testify in this combination photo during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

Divided loyalties

Poll shows what Americans are thinking after dramatic Ford-Kavanaugh hearings on Capitol Hill

By WITW Staff on October 1, 2018

It’s a story that has dominated and captivated the national interest, and now we’re getting some insight into how the drama unfolding in Washington D.C. is impacting public opinion throughout the country. A survey that followed the broadcast of testimony by Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday has revealed a country deeply divided.

YouGov, a global, internet-based public opinion and data company, conducted the survey of more than 2,000 Americans, asking them about whom they thought was telling the truth or lying.

The largest group believed Ford was being truthful and Kavanaugh was not, with almost no one believing they were both being truthful. Women tended to be more convinced that Kavanaugh was lying, but reactions mostly fell along party lines.

Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,” and added, “I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me.” (Read the full text of her statement here.) Later in the day, Kavanaugh issued a forceful denial of Ford’s accusations. (Read the full text of his statement here.)

The results showed 41 percent of respondents thought Ford was “definitely” or “probably telling the truth,” compared to 35 percent in favor of Kavanaugh’s credibility. About a quarter were unsure about both.


Party loyalties were so starkly contrasted, it almost seemed as if the viewers had been watching different events, YouGov observes. While 73 percent of Democrats found Ford’s claims credible, only 14 percent of Republicans thought she was telling the truth. In an almost mirror opposite, 74 percent of Republicans thought Kavanaugh was telling the truth compared to only 11 percent of Democrats. Very few people surveyed — just five percent — believed that both were telling the truth.


Along gender lines, the distinctions were far more subtle, with women more likely than men to believe Ford’s testimony (44 percent to 38 percent), and the reverse was true among male respondents (40 percent to 31 percent).


YouGov also found, in comparing the results with an earlier survey from September 22, that Thursday’s hearing yielded very little overall movement in support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. That, of course, may change after the findings of a supplemental background investigation by the FBI of the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh by Ford and a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, due to be completed by the end of this week.

President Donald Trump ordered the limited investigation on Friday night, following a surprise turnaround earlier in the day by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who joined the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee in calling for a one-week delay in a final vote on Kavanaugh, to allow for the probe.

Because the more recent survey, which ran from Thursday night through Friday evening, showed 27 percent of Republican women remained “unsure” about the truthfulness of Ford’s testimony, there may be some risk to Republican unity if additional evidence is uncovered during the week.

Looking ahead to the 2018 midterms, the survey results also indicate a possible problem for Republicans, with just over half of those who said they believed Ford affirming that the Supreme Court will be a more important factor in how they vote.

Read the full story at YouGov.


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