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Poll: New Jersey opposes Kavanaugh confirmation

Voter views of Trump top court pick fall along party lines

By David Wildstein, October 02 2018 5:00 am

New Jerseyans oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court by a 53%-38% margin, largely along party lines, according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of likely voters released his morning.

Kavanaugh, who has faced allegations of sexually assaulting women, has an upside-down favorable rating of 36%-47% in New Jersey.

One of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, has a favorable rating of 40%-23%.

New Jersey residents appeared to have their minds made up before last Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.  The poll showed that voters, by a 51%-36% margin, preferred the rejection of President Donald Trump’s top court nomination even before Blasey Ford testified.

The poll shows voters sharply divided along party lines, a point that could impact a close and hotly contested U.S. Senate race.  New Jersey has more than 900,000 more Democrats than Republicans.

Democrats view oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation by an overwhelming 78%-7% margin, while Republicans support him by a similarly crushing 72%-10% margin.  Among Independents, 40% want the Senate to reject Kavanaugh, while 32% want him confirmed.

“In order to really understand what’s motivating attitudes toward the Kavanaugh confirmation, you need to look at the things through the lens of partisanship the attitudes toward the president,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and professor of politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The numbers also fall along the lines of voter opinions of President Trump: by an 81%-3% margin, those who approve of Trump also support Kavanaugh; among those who disapprove of Trump, it’s 77%-7% in support of rejecting Kavanaugh.

“Even though the testimony last week was followed by a majority of those with whom we spoke, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s appearances did little to change minds,” said Jenkins. “When we look at those who were interviewed before Ford and Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate and after Ford’s allegations came to light, and compare their responses to those who were interviewed after last week’s testimony, about the same numbers said they either support or reject the Kavanaugh nomination.”

While men are split 43%-43% on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, women oppose the Supreme Court nominee by a 55%-22% margin.

“Kavanaugh has a number of obstacles when it comes to women, from concerns that he may be supportive of overturning Roe v. Wade to allegations that he mistreated women.” Jenkins said.  “Since he’s not running for office and has to win the support of a largely male Senate, disfavor among women may not matter. But, if he makes it to the court, it might be nice to have the support and trust of both men and women.”

Non-white voters (57%-18%) and college-educated voters (54%-30%) also oppose Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh’s favorables among Independents is upside-down at 23%-27%, and Blasey Ford is at 21%-8%.

More than six out of ten New Jerseyans (62%) say they have followed Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings very closely, and another 32% say they’ve watched them somewhat closely.  Just 6% say that have watched them not at all closely.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone September 26-30, 2018 using a random sample of adults in New Jersey aged 18 and older.  Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.8 percentage points, including the design effect. Interviews were conducted in English.  Among likely voters, or those whose responses to a variety of questions about their behavior and attentiveness concerning the November election suggest a likelihood of voting, 508 respondents were identified.  The sampling error for this group is +/- 4.3, including the design effect.

The poll carries weighted sample characteristics: 49% male, 51% female; 52% Democratic (with leaners), 33% Republican (with leaners), and 11% Independent; 28% ages 18-34, 35% ages 35-59, and 36% over 60; 64% White, 11% African-American, 15% Latino, and 7% Asian.

FDU kavanaugh final 10.18
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