For the past month, people have watched the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation saga unfold.
First, we sat through days of regular confirmation hearings that were dominated by partisan lines of questioning. Immediately following, we witnessed smear campaigns and misleading videos meant to sway popular opinion. Then came the letter that threw the entire process off course. There were more allegations. Finally, an additional, highly-charged hearing followed, and now we wait for an FBI investigation to conclude as a precursor to a final Senate confirmation vote that may come by week's end.
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The country is utterly exhausted.
As we wait for the next news cycle to mercifully free us, pollsters are working to gauge the feelings of midterm election voters as it relates to this subject. The ongoing nominee drama will surely affect those who will make their way to the ballot box in November. It's clear that the nation is deeply divided when it comes to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court vacancy, and President Trump as the man who appointed him.
Last Wednesday, the day before the hearing featuring both Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showed, among other things, how the issue is split along gender and party lines.
"While pluralities of both men (39 percent) and women (45 percent) are unsure who is telling the truth, among those who have a view on the question, there is notably a big gender gap. Thirty-two percent of men believe Kavanaugh and 28 percent believe Ford. Thirty-five percent of women believe Ford and 20 percent believe Kavanaugh. That's a 19-point gender gap, and the spread is even further apart by gender and party: Republican men overwhelmingly believe Kavanaugh (61 percent to 5 percent) and Democratic women believe Ford (56 percent to 4 percent)."
Since the additional hearing did much to confirm previously held biases, it's safe to say that these numbers didn't change all that much once the hearing concluded.
Three days after the new hearing, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that "Four in 10 Americans believe sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while three in 10 do not and the rest do not know." On Monday, a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed that 44 percent want their senators to vote "no" on the confirmation vote while 37 percent want them to vote "yes." Tuesday morning, another voter snapshot came out. The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll showed that of likely voters in the state of New Jersey, 53 percent prefer the Senate reject Kavanaugh while 32 percent would like to see him confirmed.
As you may have noticed, the mainstream media loves to point to these poll results to support their claim that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed. If the majority of the country has a negative view of him, then the Senate should vote his confirmation down, right?
In reality, popular opinion polls on Kavanaugh do not matter. Should elected officials and candidates seriously take them into consideration as they perform their duties in D.C. or continue on the campaign trail and ask for voter support on election day? The answer is a definitive "no."
Polls do much to bolster or chip away at our security, but they are often purposely misleading or flat-out incorrect. In addition, they only sample a small number of individuals. Despite all of this, we routinely look to them as a guide. When it comes to politicians and their election chances, or the general feelings about policy matters, there is some use for them insomuch as giving us a glimpse of how our fellow Americans feel.
But when it comes to an unelected nominee for the highest court in the land, their results are meaningless, and they should be dismissed by Republicans and Democrats, alike.
It is not the country's job to determine whether a Supreme Court nominee is the right person for the lifetime appointment. That duty falls to the president, first, then the Senate Judiciary Committee, then finally, the full Senate. General members of the electorate are not consulted to give a final declaration on the appointee and their merits or their character. This applies to anyone appointed by any president, Republican or Democrat. With Kavanaugh, his very integrity has been put on the line. We're told that he is not only unsuitable for the job as justice but is actually someone with predatory tendencies. Though the evidence is just not there, and may never be, many everyday people have made up their mind that he's a misogynistic monster. These feelings have translated to polling data in the hopes that they'll sway others, especially D.C. decision makers, into rejecting Kavanaugh.
In other words, it's politics as usual.
Some say that opinion polls covering an embattled nominee should be taken into consideration. Their reasoning might be that placing a disliked person on the high court only serves to ruin public trust in the institution. In these highly partisan times, it's obvious that any individual chosen to replace a retiring or deceased jurist will divide the nation to some extent. Gone are the days when nominees received wide support in the Senate. The confirmation vote totals of 98, 97, and 96 for Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, respectively, are a thing of the past. Justice Neil Gorsuch received only 54 confirmation votes. A somewhat neutral process has become increasingly partisan, and we can thank both politicians and the public for that reality.
As we can clearly see with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the problem with public opinion is that it can quite possibly make or break someone. With a lifetime appointment to Supreme Court on the line, shouldn't we focus on the nominee's history (and actual evidence), instead?
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog and a senior contributor at RedState.com.