Change Research Polls Before and After Kavanaugh Hearings Show Americans’ Reactions

Change Research conducted one poll before and one poll after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018.

The two surveys found that Dr. Blasey Ford’s favorability increased after the hearing, while Kavanaugh became more unfavorable. The surveys also provided insight into how respondents think Senators should move forward with the confirmation process, how Kavanaugh’s confirmation could impact the midterms, and how Kavanaugh’s confirmation would affect the credibility of the Supreme Court.

Confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would damage the Court’s credibility.

(POST HEARINGS SURVEY): If the U.S. Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, how will it affect how you view the credibility of the Supreme Court?

  • 24% I’ll find it more credible
  • 50% I’ll find it less credible
  • 26% It won’t affect my opinion of the Supreme Court

Voters say they are less likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

If your Senator voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, would that make you:

Before the hearings:

  • Total more likely to re-elect your Senator — 36%
     ▸ Much more likely to re-elect your Senator — 31%
  • Total less likely to re-elect your Senator — 47%
     ▸ Much less likely to re-elect your Senator — 41%

After the hearings:

  • Much More likely to re-elect your Senator — 30% (-1%)
     ▸ Total More likely to re-elect your Senator — 37% (+1%)
  • Total less likely to re-elect your Senator — 51% (+4%)
     ▸ Much less likely to re-elect your Senator — 44% (+3%)

After the hearings, a majority of people believe that the FBI should investigate before the nomination moves forward.

Should the FBI investigate the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate votes on his confirmation?

  • 54% Yes
  • 43% No

Did Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony on Thursday make you more or less likely to think there should be an FBI Investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh?

  • 47% More likely
  • 25% Less likely

After the hearings, respondents found Dr. Blasey Ford more believable than Judge Kavanaugh.

Did you find Kavanaugh believable?

  • 44% Yes
  • 45% No

Did you find Dr. Blasey Ford believable?

  • 50% Yes
  • 39% No

Respondents have a more favorable view of Christine Blasey Ford after the hearings, while they have a more unfavorable view of Brett Kavanaugh after the hearings.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford:
Before the hearings: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford?

  • 44% of respondents had a favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 30% of respondents had a very favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 14% of respondents had a somewhat favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
  • 40% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 32% of respondents had a very unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 8% of respondents had a somewhat unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford

After the hearings: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford?

  • 49% of respondents had a favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 36% of respondents had a very favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 13% of respondents had a somewhat favorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
  • 41% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 31% of respondents had a very unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford
     ▸ 10% of respondents had a somewhat unfavorable view of Dr. Blasey Ford

Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

Before the hearings: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Judge Brett Kavanaugh?

  • 44% of respondents had a favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 35% of respondents had a very favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 10% of respondents had a somewhat favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
  • 51% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 45% of respondents had a very unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 6% of respondents had a somewhat unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh

After the hearings: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Judge Brett Kavanaugh?

  • 44% of respondents had a favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 34% of respondents had a very favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 10% of respondents had a somewhat favorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
  • 53% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 47% of respondents had a very unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh
     ▸ 6% of respondents had a somewhat unfavorable view of Judge Kavanaugh

After the hearings, a plurality of respondents felt that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed, and a majority believe Judge Kavanaugh has not been forthcoming about his past.

Should Judge Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed to the Supreme Court?

  • 44% agree
     ▸ 41% strongly agree
  • 49% disagree
     ▸ 43% strongly disagree

Judge Kavanaugh has not been forthcoming about his past:

  • 52% agree
     ▸ 44% strongly agree
  • 40% agree
     ▸ 35% strongly disagree

After the hearings, more people believe that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had been sexually assaulted.

Which of these three statements is most likely true?

Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted in high school by Brett Kavanaugh.

  • Before the hearings: 45% yes
  • After the hearings: 48% yes (+3%)

Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted in high school, but it wasn’t by Brett Kavanaugh.

  • Before the hearings: 13% yes
  • After the hearings: 24% yes (+11%)

Christine Blasey Ford was never sexually assaulted.

  • Before the hearings: 23% yes
  • After the hearings: 16% yes (-7%)
  • Before the hearings, 58% of respondents thought Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted. After the hearings, 72% believe that she was sexually assaulted (+14%).

After the hearings, more respondents believed that Christine Blasey Ford was more credible than Brett Kavanaugh.

Whose testimony do you find more credible?

  • 48% Christine Blasey Ford
  • 45% Brett Kavanaugh

After the hearings, respondents believed that the U.S. Senate should hear from Kavanaugh’s other accusers and Mark Judge before proceeding with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Should the U.S. Senate hear from Brett Kavanaugh’s other accusers before proceeding with Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation?

  • 49% Yes
  • 46% No

Should the U.S. Senate hear from Mark Judge before proceeding with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination?

  • 46% Yes
  • 38% No

A vast majority of respondents watched the hearings or have seen coverage.

  • 73% of respondents watched the hearing
  • 94% have seen coverage

Change Research surveyed 739 registered voters before the Kavanaugh hearing (the evening of 9/26 and morning of 9/27) and 741 registered voters after the Kavanaugh hearing (the evening of 9/27 and morning of 9/28), a total of 1480 voters. The survey was conducted online, using Change Research’s Bias Correct Engine. Post-stratification was done on age, gender, ethnicity, and 2016 presidential vote. Traditional margin of error is +/-3.6% for both polls.

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