Plurality of Americans oppose confirming Brett Kavanaugh as next Supreme Court justice

Support is sharply divided on party lines; Despite opposition, nearly half believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Anson Justi Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 20, 2018 — In light of a divisive battle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a new Ipsos poll finds more Americans are opposed to Kavanaugh’s confirmation (40%) than in favor (31%). Support for Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation is strongly divided by party lines. Just 9% of Democrats support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, compared to a strong majority of Republicans (70%). A quarter (24%) of Independents support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, while nearly twice as many (43%) oppose. 

Americans’ support for the confirmation does not align with their expectations for the confirmation. While just 31% of Americans support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, nearly half (45%) believe the nomination will eventually be confirmed. Only 11% believe Kavanaugh will not be confirmed, and 43% are unsure. Though only 9% of Democrats support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, 38% believe he will eventually be confirmed. Independents follow a similar pattern; Forty-three percent believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, while 24% support the confirmation. On the other hand, a nearly equal number of Republicans support the confirmation (70%) and believe it will happen (67%). 

Americans are split on whether they believe the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh; overall, 32% believe the allegations raised by Kavanaugh’s former classmate, Christine Blasey Ford, while 28% do not. This split is entirely partisan, as 56% of Democrats believe the allegations, and 61% of Republicans do not, with independents split nearly down the middle (30% believe them, 25% do not). A majority of Americans (55%) believe these allegations will hurt Senate Republicans’ chances of holding their majority in the November midterm elections, including a plurality of Republicans (45%). On the flip side, 44% of Americans see these allegations as potentially helpful to Senate Democrats’ chances of winning a majority in the midterms, while just 27% believe the allegations will hurt. Democrats are the most optimistic that these allegations will help Senate Democrats (61%). Nearly the same proportion of Republicans (33%) believe the allegations will help Democrats as those who believe the allegations will help Republicans (32%). 

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 19-20, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,008 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 333 Republicans, 343 Democrats, and 221 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,008, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5 percentage points). 

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.1 percentage points Republicans, 6 percentage points for Democrats, and 7.5 for Independents.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Through our media partnerships, Ipsos Public Affairs is a leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and internationally. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Anson Justi Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs