Dems Gain On Generic Ballot In Post-Kavanaugh CNN Poll, Contradicting Other Surveys

WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCTOBER 3: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi mingles with a crowd, mostly of women, who have gathered outside of the Supreme Court to oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court on the evening of October 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis News

House Democrats’ lead in the generic congressional ballot has slightly increased in the wake of the bombshell hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, according to a newly released survey from CNN — numbers that conflict with some other recent polling and push back on the narrative that the Kavanaugh hearings were a political win for the GOP.

Democrats lead in the new survey of likely voters by 54 percent to 41 percent, a 13-point edge. That’s up from 10 points when SSRN last polled for CNN in early September.

Those numbers are some of the best recent poll figures for Democrats. And while they should be looked at in the broader scope of things, they suggest the building narrative that the Kavanaugh confirmation was a disaster for Democrats isn’t totally correct.

Of the eight reputable national pollsters to survey the generic congressional poll since the Sept. 27 hearings, three including CNN have found an increase for Democrats’ lead in the generic congressional ballot since the last time those pollsters were in the field, three have found Democrats’ lead shrinking, and two have found essentially no change.

That’s a sign that at least on the House side, the Kavanaugh fights may have had a negligible effect on the overall battle.

That doesn’t mean the confirmation hearings couldn’t be deeply problematic for Democrats in certain states and districts, especially red states. That’s because the Kavanaugh fight undoubtedly galvanized both parties’ bases, and in places with key Senate races like Tennessee and North Dakota that’s certainly not helpful, as anything that polarizes both sides equally in the national fight will only help Republicans in Republican strongholds.

Senate Democratic strategists tell TPM that their candidates in the deep-red states saw some overall degradation in their numbers around the time of Kavanaugh hearings, numbers that have been borne out by some other recent public surveys.

But the argument from some Republican strategists that the Kavanaugh fight has drained the blue wave seems far-fetched, according to this survey and others.

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