Floridians on Kavanaugh: The Partisanship of Certainty

posted by:

Sachs Media Group

3 October

As the FBI wraps up its investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in advance of an expected confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate, many Florida voters have already made up their minds on the matter. According to a Sachs Media Group survey of 1,200 Florida voters conducted October 1-2, 2018:

  • 41% believe that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school, with the remaining torn between believing he was intentionally, falsely accused (22%) and believing that the assault happened but was committed by someone else or differently than she remembers (26%.)
  • Stunningly, just 12% say they aren’t sure what happened.

That’s a lot of certainty considering that the FBI has yet to report on its first actual investigation into the matter — and considering that the evidence available to the public to date has mostly been one person’s word against another’s.

Partisanship is most to blame for generating such certainty despite murky facts: 8 in 10 Democrats believe Judge Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual assault (in context, that’s the same portion of Democrats who believe Harvey Weinstein assaulted actress Rose McGowan but is three times the portion of Democrats who believe that former President Bill Clinton was guilty of sexual assault.)

Comparatively, just 1 in 10 Republicans and 4 in 10 non-partisan (NPA) voters feel certain that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault. Yet when Republicans are asked about Clinton, 64% express certainty that he did so.

The biggest takeaway from these results may be to reinforce the harsh reality that nearly any issue or problem, when viewed mostly through a partisan lens, reflects the extreme differences that divide our country today on so many fronts.