Among Republicans, it has been a regular talking point, practically a piece of conventional wisdom, that confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court before the midterm elections would help motivate their voters to go to the polls.
A new survey reveals that Democrats may actually be more motivated to vote because of Kavanaugh than Republicans.
According to the results of the Politico/Morning Consult poll, which was conducted entirely after Kavanaugh's tempestuous hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 46 percent of voters believe that the Senate "made the wrong decision" by confirming Kavanaugh while only 40 percent said that the Senate was correct in doing so. Among independents, 47 percent disagree with the Senate's decision to confirm Kavanaugh while only 34 percent believe the Senate was correct. More significantly, 77 percent of Democrats are now saying that they are "very motivated" to vote, compared to only 68 percent of Republicans — a bad sign considering other recent surveys showing Democrats with a marked lead over Republicans in a number of key districts in the House of Representatives.
"Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation battle appears to be a significant motivator, as voter enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms has hit its highest point since Morning Consult and POLITICO began tracking the issue," Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president, told Politico in a statement. "In this week’s poll, 70 percent of voters say they are very motivated to vote — including 77 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Republicans, and 60 percent of independents. One month ago, 64 percent said they were very motivated — including 67 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Republicans, and 55 percent of independents."
The poll also found that only 41 percent of voters approve of President Donald Trump while 56 percent of them disapprove of the president. Because the Republican Party has closely tied itself to the president's image and agenda since he took office, these numbers bode very poorly for them going into the midterm elections. That was reinforced by the poll's finding that 48 percent of Americans would vote for a Democrat and 38 percent of Americans would vote for a Republican if the congressional election was held in their district today.
This doesn't mean that Democrats should celebrate reclaiming Congress altogether.
A recent poll by OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 Arizona found that in that state's Senate election, Republican candidate Martha McSally has a six-point lead over Democratic nominee Kyrsten Sinema, with 47 percent for McSally, 41 percent for Sinema, 4 percent for Green Party candidate Angela Green and 8 percent of voters undecided. Meanwhile a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll found a neck-and-neck race between Republican Sen. Dean Heller and his Democratic opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen (46 percent for Heller to 45 percent for Rosen).
The poll also had bad news for the leadership in both major parties. Republican congressional leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan both had abysmal approval ratings (46 percent unfavorable and 25 percent favorable for the former, 49 percent unfavorable and 32 percent favorable for the latter), with the best showing for a national Republican figure going to Vice President Mike Pence, who had 45 percent unfavorable and 41 percent favorable.
That said, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi only had a 28 percent favorable rating and a whopping 53 percent unfavorable rating. Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a 41 percent unfavorable rating and a 27 percent favorable rating. Overall, the two parties are in roughly equally bad standing among the American public: 55 percent have an unfavorable view of Republicans and 52 percent have an unfavorable view of Democrats, while 36 percent have a favorable view of Republicans and 38 percent have a favorable view of Democrats.