The testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford — a Palo Alto professor who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at high school — in the front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday captured the nation’s attention in a visceral way that other major news stories haven’t.
The hearing was a bit over a month away from the midterms, and there’s a question of whether the hearing — along with the Senate confirmation or rejection of Kavanaugh — will spur women to go to the polls on November 6. Pollsters have been trying to gauge voters’ feelings on the hearings because they happened, and the query is really a difficult one to answer. Gender politics do not always break down cleanly along sex lines, and what fires up yet another can be also fired up by one foundation.
Here is what they know so much: particularly, and Girls girls that are Democratic, were fired up ahead of the hearing, something which’s evident in the historical number of women candidates and improved turnout. Some pollsters Vox talked to were doubtful the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings would be too big a driver to vote as a policy issue like health care. However, Kavanaugh’s testimony and Ford has staying power, especially close to the election.
“This has resonance,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of polling at Quinnipiac University. “If you were not focused on politics and the midterms, you might be now. This was dinner table conversation. People are going to talk about this now, folks will talk about this tomorrowit’s going to be in each political commercial.”
Though a lot of political experts and pollsters are focused on if this will raise women’s turn out, there is the reality this could fire voters that need the Senate to affirm Kavanaugh.
“Does this fire Republicans in a way they have never been engaged yet? I just think that is a moving target at the moment,” said Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy. “The ultimate outcome may drive turnout in one way or another.”
These responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Women were already energized to turn out to vote 2018. This could increase.
Margie Omero, GBA Plans, principal
Voters on the left — including women — were especially likely to state the Supreme Court would be a factor in their vote Before Kavanaugh was named as a nominee. This will become correct as most of of the people polling reveals, as Kavanaugh becomes less and less popular. Especially since the hearing just laid bare just how differently both parties see women and their want to be heard and believed.
I believe in the Senate, it’s very important to see not just the red-state Democrats (who were quite strong in recent public polling) but also the open seats and pickup opportunities in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and even Mississippi.
Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners, president
I think it will have an effect on women of color and on millennial girls that are energized with Democratic girls women, and this matter. On the flip side, there’s proof some Trump fans will be energized by that it . I believe it will have a dual impact.
What we’re seeing, to begin with, is a record number of women running. I believe we’re going to find that a number of girls winning women. The thing that Republicans are going to regret isn’t nominating women. We’re seeing a gender gap on steroids really… it is double what we see in ordinary years; I feel that is going to be accentuated only more.
This really is a revolution, and politics is slow to catch up on culture. Pushed from the rapidity of what is happening in different sectors… women are turning out in record amounts. Women are currently participating. What’s going to be interesting is how can this attach to a schedule for Congress.
Cameron Easley, Morning Verify, Washington Editor
Really the most important thing on such question about service… a lot of this depends upon the map in terms of the electoral effect it might have. What you could see if you look at the gender breaks on party ID is women compared to Republican women do in support of have feelings in opposition of Kavanaugh.
There’s also the question of were these Democratic women planning to vote anyhow. There are plenty of indicators that girls, in particular, are energized about the midterms, When you look at the outcomes that have happened since Trump took office. We have got a number of girls candidates that were Democratic. You could observe the largest number of House women in history and the largest number of women in the House in history if a wave does occur. However, as this is related to by the Kavanaugh nomination, it seems like it is more motivating to women that are Democratic than Republican women.
The Kavanaugh hearings have staying power
Tim Malloy, Quinnipiac University Poll, assistant director
One thing about the scenario that is Ford-Kavanaugh is if you weren’t focused on politics and the midterms, you might be now. This was dinner table conversation. Most of the things that happen from the Trump administration are gone in a day… but this one, folks will speak about this now, folks will talk about this tomorrow, it’s likely to be in each political commercial. It has resonance.
Before things went nuts, we polled this, and in better shape he was on September 10. The distinction here is that I feel that is a moment as far as political talks in families. People might discuss it right up until Election Day.
Daniel Cox, PRRI Poll, research manager
I do think the nomination. And more importantly the testimony and accusations that have been given around Judge Kavanaugh’s last — I think that it’s incredibly important and it feels just like a moment in our politics at which everybody is paying attention to this, and it signifies something considerably bigger than this nomination.
I believe that it’s had so much power because it goes to each of these questions of class, privilege, and sex. I think especially for women, it is something which’s so imminently relatable.
Kavanaugh could spur more women to vote for Democrats, but it could also drive the Republican vote
Erin Cassese, University of Delaware, political science professor
I think that it definitely will influence the likelihood of women and it fits in this set of variables which have girls. I think this is a piece of the preexisting frame. It is dependent on how closely the Kavanaugh hearing ends up being linked to types of races people will be voting for. It may be separate in their own minds When they don’t see an immediate link between the person they are voting for and the confirmation hearings.
But at the same time, I think it’s really important not to characterize women as a group. I believe there’s been a real tendency to do that and a difficulty to emphasise the diversity. #MeToo is a societal movement that is branded. It is ideology as well, although underlying people’s responses to this really is a great deal for a whole lot of people it’s personal experience.
Jennifer Duffy, Cook Political Report, Senate editor
Pollsters I have talked to now think before they feel like they have a good read on such question, that it’s likely to become later or mid-week in the week. With so much noise out there, before you receive the truth, you need to dive down. Does this fire up Republicans in ways they have not been engaged yet? I believe that is a moving target right now. Turnout may be driven by the outcome .
Patrick Murray, Monmouth University polling, manager
In a Monmouth poll of the 10th Congressional District of Virginia, Murray posed the question of if Kavanaugh would impact whether likely voters would vote for a candidate that was different. Democrat Jennifer Wexton is running against incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) in the district.
Basically, the majority of this was baked to the electorate. What’s come out about Kavanaugh has only reinforced voters’ views. People who support the president and Republicans have rejected the accusations. People who refuse the president accept the accusations. One of this is a wash.
This is 1 district. We know what happens in Washington plays a major role in how Republicans in this field see their house vote, and you’ve got two women running on problems important to girls who vote. This isn’t a type of revelation that’s moving voters one way or the other. People that are motivated to go out and vote were already motivated. This didn’t change.