Most of us understood, I think, that the Democrats’ attempt to bring down Brett Kavanaugh with a pathetically thin allegation of sexual misconduct as a teenager would energize the Republican base just in time for the 2018 elections. But apparently the “Kavanaugh effect” extends further than that.
A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal finds that likely voters in the most hotly contested House races favor Kavanaugh’s confirmation by a significant margin. To be specific, in districts rated as “toss up” or “leans” by the Cook Political Report, voters favor Kavanaugh’s confirmation 43 percent to 33 percent.
How does that compare to likely voters nationwide? The same poll found that these voters also favor Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but only by a 40-36 margin.
NBC/WSJ apparently didn’t poll states with key Senate races, even though it’s the Senate, not the House, that votes on the confirmation of judges. We can surmise, however, that the pro-Kavanaugh effect will be more pronounced in “toss up” and “leans” Senate races than in such House contests. The key battleground Senate races are in Red States (e.g., Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, Montana, and Tennessee) and states that are neither Red nor Blue (e.g., Florida and Nevada). Key House races are more evenly distributed across the partisan spectrum.
I don’t know how many voters, at the end of the day, will mark their ballot, or decide whether to vote at all, based on the Democrats’ execrable treatment of Justice Kavanaugh. But it seems clear that, among those who do, the Kavanaugh effect will work to the advantage of the GOP this year.