To hear Republicans tell it, the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation was a political godsend. Not only did the party get a new partisan ally on the nation's highest court, the fight itself left Democratic voters depressed and deflated, while leaving GOP voters feeling newly invigorated.
"Ironically, the behavior of, first, the Democrats on Senate Judiciary Committee, and then the overreach of the protestors at the Capitol have actually energized the Republican base, particularly in the red states where we're trying to pick up seats out across America," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this past weekend. "So, I want to thank the other side for the tactics that have allowed us to kind of energize and get involved our own voters."
The new narrative was set: the midterm elections may have looked good for Democrats, but the Kavanaugh fight changed everything.
The narrative, however, doesn't appear to be true.
More Americans disapprove of Brett M. Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court than approve, and a narrow majority says congressional investigation of the new justice should not end with his elevation to the court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. [...]Asked how the Kavanaugh debate would affect their midterm vote, slightly more say it makes them more inclined to support Democrats for Congress than Republicans. Women say the episode draws them toward Democrats over Republicans by a 16-point margin, while men are more evenly split.
All told, the Washington Post-ABC News poll found a 51% majority disapprove of Kavanaugh's confirmation, and a 53% majority support additional congressional scrutiny of the Republican justice.
As for the electoral consequences, the survey found\, in the wake of the confirmation fight, 33% are more likely to vote Democratic, while 27% are more likely to vote Republican.
What's more, this isn't the only evidence from recent days challenging the GOP's predictions about riding a Kavanaugh-related wave into Election Day.
Politico reported on Wednesday:
Republicans are touting the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as rocket fuel for the GOP grass roots in next month's midterm elections, but it's Democrats who appear more energized by the nomination fight, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.Kavanaugh's confirmation is not popular: In the poll, which was conducted after last week's Senate vote, 46 percent of voters said the Senate "made the wrong decision" in approving the controversial judge, while 40 percent said it was right to elevate him to the high court.And following the GOP-led effort to push through his nomination, enthusiasm among Democratic voters has surged. More than 3 in 4 Democrats (77 percent) say they are "very motivated" to turn out and vote in the midterms -- more than the 68 percent of Republicans who say they're "very motivated."
As for the generic ballot, the day the world learned of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's name last month, the Democratic advantage was 9.1%. Today, it's 8.4%. Yes, that's a modest shift in the Republicans' direction, but it's hardly evidence of a game-changing shift.
The GOP's "narrative" is starting to look more like wishful thinking and less like a description of real events.