Voters, already lukewarm on Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, have turned decidedly against him as his confirmation drags on amid allegations of a sexual assault three decades ago.
A Fox News poll released Sunday found 50 percent of voters, if they had a direct say, would vote against confirming him to the high court, while just 40 percent would back him. That works out to a 10-percentage point deficit, down 9 points since the previous Fox poll in August.
That tracks with other polling that shows the judge’s support slipping among the public, though it’s not clear if it will derail his confirmation.
Driving the poor showing is voters’ tendency to believe his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, instead of his denials. Some 36 percent told Fox they believe her accusation that he attempted to hold her down and strip her clothes off during a high school party, while just 30 percent believe his refutation that he wasn’t even at such a party, much less that he attempted to assault anyone.
A large number of voters — 34 percent — are unsure what to make of the situation.
Ms. Blasey Ford’s allegations have been made only in a letter to select members of Congress that has not been made fully public and in an interview with The Washington Post. Nobody has come forward to substantiate her version of events, while several people she says were at the party have refuted her account.
Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination has never been particularly popular with voters at large.
A Quinnipiac University Poll found voters split with 41 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed to his confirmation in July, ticking up to 44-39 in August, then sliding back to 41-42 this month, before the assault allegation was made public.
He has had the lowest level of support in Gallup polling for any potential justice since Robert Bork, the last nominee to be voted down by the Senate in 1987.
Republicans are undeterred, vowing to push Judge Kavanaugh through the confirmation process.
“President Trump has nominated a stunningly successful individual,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told conservative activists Friday at the Values Voters Summit. “Here is what I want to tell you. In the near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”