Opposition to Kavanaugh grows after Senate hearing: Reuters/Ipsos poll

By Lawrence Hurley and Chris Kahn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Opposition among Americans to Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, has increased in the wake of his testimony last week before a U.S. Senate committee in which he defiantly denied sexual misconduct allegations, Reuters/Ipsos polling data showed on Wednesday.

In the latest seven-day average in a survey of U.S. adults, 41 percent of respondents opposed Kavanaugh, 33 percent supported the conservative federal appeals court judge and 26 percent said they did not know.

Opposition to Kavanaugh grew 4 percentage points after the Sept. 27 Judiciary Committee hearing in which university professor Christine Blasey Ford detailed a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh and he denied it, portraying himself as the victim of a “political hit.”

Opposition grew every day after the hearing in the poll, conducted between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1.

The increase in opposition to Kavanaugh, facing a confirmation vote in the Senate after being nominated by Trump for a lifetime position on the court, appears to be driven by those who previously did not have an opinion. The percentage of respondents with no opinion on Kavanaugh decreased by about 7 percentage points compared to a week before the hearing.

Support for Kavanaugh has remained relatively stable, the polling showed, rising slightly after the hearing.

Opposition rose among Democrats by 6 percentage points to 71 percent and was relatively unchanged among people unaffiliated with a political party compared to before the hearing, according to the poll. Support among Republicans stood at 70 percent, rising 4 percentage points in the days after the hearing, but was lower among Republican women, at 64 percent.

Among independents and people unaffiliated with a political party, 31 percent opposed Kavanaugh, 20 percent supported him and 49 percent said they did not know.

The fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination comes against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault that has toppled a succession of powerful men.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English. It gathered responses from 4,057 U.S. adults, including 1,347 Republicans and 1,653 Democrats. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 2 percentage points

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Chris Kahn; Editing by Will Dunham)