Voters strongly support FBI investigation of sexual assault charges


Matthew Sheffield

American voters strongly back a one-week delay in the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to allow the FBI time to investigate sexual assault allegations against him, according to a new Hill.TV American Barometer poll released Monday.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters found that 62 percent of respondents said they approved of the delay.

The American Barometer, conducted by the HarrisX polling company, found that Americans of all age and racial groups support the FBI re-opening its background investigation of Kavanaugh.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans oppose the delay, while 41 percent favor it. Seventy-eight percent of Democratic voters said they support the probe, as did 65 percent of independents.

“Partisanship is the single biggest factor, the single biggest driver in your outlook on whether Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed and also whether you believe the allegations that Christine Blasey Ford and other women have brought against him,” Mallory Newall, research director at Ipsos Public Affairs said Monday on “What America’s Thinking,” Hill.TV’s show about public opinion and polling.

The poll results suggested a divide among GOP voters. Respondents who call themselves “strongly conservative” oppose the delay and investigation — 67 percent to 33 percent — while those who say they “lean conservative” support an FBI inquiry, 52 percent to 48 percent.

A majority of women in the poll, 65 percent, backed the FBI investigation, as did 58 percent of men.

“Partisanship still overtakes gender, meaning that Republican women are still more akin to behave closer to or have opinions closer to Republican men than, say, Democratic women,” Newall said.

Three women have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during incidents in the early 1980s, first when he was a high school student and later when he was in college.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and trying to remove her clothing at a party when they were both high school students.

Deborah Ramirez later accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her when they were both college students at Yale University.

A third woman, Julie Swetnick, has accused Kavanaugh of being present at a high school party where she was a victim of a “gang” rape.

Kavanaugh has emphatically denied all of the allegations against him. He has accused Democrats of conducting a smear campaign to keep him off the Supreme Court.

On Friday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, called for a one-week delay on Kavanaugh’s full Senate vote to give the FBI time to examine the charges against the nominee. President Trump has directed the agency to comply with the request.

A poll conducted by Harvard CAPS/Harris found that 60 percent of Americans would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation if the FBI is unable to find corroborating evidence against him.

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