Opposition to Kavanaugh is growing steadily, but is the fight turning the tide for Republicans?

Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley.
(Image credit: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Opposition to Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination has grown steadily since last Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, and currently 41 percent oppose his confirmation while 33 percent support it, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday. That's a 4 percentage point rise in opposition to Kavanaugh's nomination, driven by those who previously had no opinion; support for his nomination has remained relatively stable, Reuters says. (The poll was conducted online Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 among 4,057 American adults, with a credibility interval of about 2 points.)

At the same time, Republican strategists, PAC heads, and others with a strong vested interest in Republicans keeping control of Congress are reporting that the Kavanaugh fight has prompted a "tidal shift" in GOP voters, Axios says. "The Kavanaugh debate has dropped a political grenade into the middle of an electorate that had been largely locked in Democrats' favor for the past six months," says Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans point to a new Marist poll showing the Democratic enthusiasm gap has shrunk to a statistically insignificant 2 points, from 10 points last month.

At the same time, an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday shows Democrats expanding their lead on the generic House ballot, from 2 points to 5 points — still below the RealClearPolitics average of 7.7 points. So is the Kavanaugh sexual assault imbroglio helping or hurting Republicans? Well, "you can cobble together a credible case that polls since last Thursday's Senate hearings have been comparatively good for Republicans," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver wrote Thursday, and "if you were trying to cite a series of strong Democratic polls since the hearings, you wouldn't have much problem." But overall, the polls are getting worse for Republicans in the House contest and better for Republicans in the Senate race, and it's possible that whichever party loses the Kavanaugh fight will get the biggest bump in the midterms. You can read more of Silver's analysis at FiveThirtyEight.

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