Americans Approve Of FBI Investigation Into Kavanaugh But Think Senate Is Playing Politics

Views remain strongly entrenched along political lines, a new survey finds.

Most Americans approve of the decision to order an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Fifty-six percent say they approve of the White House ordering a weeklong FBI investigation of Kavanaugh’s history, with only a quarter disapproving. An 88 percent majority of Hillary Clinton voters approve of the decision, as do half of non-voters in the 2016 presidential election and a third of Donald Trump voters.

There’s less support for either party’s behavior in the Senate. Americans say, 46 to 30 percent, that they believe Democrats are playing politics rather than making a good-faith attempt to get to the truth. By a smaller margin, 42 percent to 33 percent, they say the same of Republicans.

Views are again divided along political lines. Sixty-five of Clinton voters but just 5 percent of Trump voters say that Democrats are acting in good faith; two-thirds of Trump voters but just 7 percent of Clinton voters believe that Republicans are doing so.

Overall, 35 percent of Americans say the Senate today is doing a worse job of handling the accusations against Kavanaugh than it did of handling Anita Hill’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Just 13 percent believe the Senate is doing a better job now, with the rest unsure or saying that not much has changed.

Polling released since Thursday’s hearings has varied on the exact effect the testimony had on the public’s opinion of Kavanaugh. Initial YouGov polling found that last week’s testimony had, overall, little effect on support for his confirmation, while the firm’s latest survey for CBS finds a “net shift in sentiment... toward opposition.” Quinnipiac University, which last looked at views of Kavanaugh’s nomination in early September, reported Monday that he had lost ground among Democrats and independents, without corresponding gains among Republicans. Ipsos/Reuters polling also released Monday found about a 5-point uptick in opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation between Sept. 18 and 24 and Sept. 26 and 30.

Kavanaugh’s relative unpopularity for a Supreme Court nominee, however, is consistent. Across all those surveys, however, opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation at least modestly outweighed support.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Sept. 28 and 29 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.