Under Pressure: Another Poll Shows Big Majorities in Four Key Senate States Want Kavanaugh Confirmed

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 10:45 AM

Yesterday, we offered a detailed review of the organized Left's exceptionally weak central attack against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; namely, that he'd be a rubber stamp for President Trump on any issue that may arise from the Mueller probe because he believes presidents are "above the law."  That's a gross distortion of the truth, as the Washington Post's fact-checker and others have confirmed.  As we concluded, if that's the 'best' they've got -- and yes, one never knows what could happen during the confirmation hearings -- it's hard to imagine Kavanaugh failing to achieve confirmation.  The trickiest Senators in this process are GOP moderates Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (both of whom have long track records of voting for Republican-appointed judges, and the former of whom sounds a lot like a 'lean yes' on Kavanaugh, "honestly undecided" conservatarian Rand Paul (I'm really struggling to imagine Paul casting the deciding vote against a Trump SCOTUS pick), and a handful of red state Democrats facing difficult re-election battles.  

Among the latter group, conservative groups and Republicans have been ramping up pressure to support Kavanaugh, including a new $1.5 million ad buy from the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) targeting Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Donnelley in Indiana, and Alabama's Doug Jones (who isn't up until 2020, and needs to decide whether he has any intention of trying to get re-elected, or if he's going to go full progressive during his brief stint in Congress).  All of the ads start off similarly, then shift to messages aimed at each specific Democratic incumbent.  Here are two examples:

The Alabama version is here, and Indiana's here. Television ads and phone calls to district and DC offices will certainly move the needle a bit, but these numbers may be most likely to catch the attention of these endangered Democrats:

Those lopsided margins aren't too far off from another survey we wrote about a few weeks ago -- which means that it's a pretty sure bet that clear majorities of these four states' electorates favor confirmation, and Missourians probably break down along very similar lines.  Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelley all voted for Justice Gorsuch last year, Doug Jones wasn't yet in the Senate, and Claire McCaskill was a 'no.'  How will red state Democrats act this time around, especially considering the proximity of the Kavanaugh confirmation process to the midterm elections?  For some, their electoral fates may hinge on this specific decision.  And will Democratic pressure push Mitch McConnell to use the Senate calendar as a weapon against endangered Democrats by limiting their campaigning schedule and lining up a divisive vote just before Americans head to the polls?  According to McConnell, his decision will be determined by how his Democratic counterparts want to play their (Harry Reid-weakened) hand. Meanwhile, in Florida, Democrat Bill Nelson is catching heat from all sides -- as leftists blast him for declining to publicly rule out supporting Kavanaugh, with righties (including his opponent) jeering his two-faced game:

Nelson says different things at different times about how he will vote on the Supreme Court nominee. One day he said he wouldn’t vote for Kavanaugh. The next, he said he would make his decision after meeting one-on-one with the justice. It is an even-handed approach to advising and consenting. It also falls apart in light of his political rhetoric. To get a sense of what Nelson really thinks about the nominee, look at what he tells potential donors. “If you want to stop McConnell's plans to put another right-wing extremist on the Supreme Court, gut affordable health care and dismantle Medicare,” Nelson wrote in a July 16 fundraising email, “you need to give right now to make sure Democrats take back the Senate by winning in Florida.”

I'll leave you with this handy roundup of how often 'moderate' Democratic Senators voted to confirm President Obama's judicial selections.