Texas Public Opinion Touchpoints as Senators Cornyn and Cruz Vote to Confirm Brett Kavanaugh

No one should be surprised that Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted today to clear the way for Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the United States Supreme Court, and will vote in his favor tomorrow when the Senate takes the final vote.  

Public opinion data from the University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll archive illuminates, at least in part, why Senators Cornyn and Cruz could be expected to support Kavanaugh even as the nominee's temperament, his forthrightness with Senate, and serious questions about his past behavior became ever more problematic.  A more thorough analysis will require new, more focused data. But in the meantime, the data at hand provide context for why the Texas Senators followed the party line once the responses to the accusations against Kavanaugh intersected with the seemingly ever-escalating partisan environment. From perceptions of discrimination to the #metoo movement to attitudes toward the court, the attitudinal landscape in Texas is marked by deeply opposed, partisan frames of references for some of the fundamental questions raised by Kavanaugh's testimony, and by his and his defenders' responses to the objections raised to his confirmation.

Joshua Blank and I posted some of this data in the run up to Kavanaugh’s testimony before the judiciary committee, too. This post re-presents some slightly different slices of the data, with a some new items added as well.

Texans’ perceptions of discrimination experienced by men and women.

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A lot of discrimination2%13%19%
Not very much36%24%31%
None at all48%26%19%
Don't know/no opinion4%7%3%

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A lot of discrimination16%7%
Not very much30%35%
None at all26%38%
Don't know/no opinion2%6%

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A great deal31%14%3%
A lot31%20%9%
A moderate amount28%20%21%
A little7%28%49%
None at all3%19%18%

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A great deal12%20%
A lot14%24%
A moderate amount22%26%
A little35%21%
None at all17%8%

More specifically, beliefs that attention to sexual assault have have led to the unfair treatment of men.

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Strongly agree9%19%20%
Somewhat agree14%42%41%
Somewhat disagree25%10%18%
Strongly disagree43%14%14%
Don't know/No opinion9%16%8%

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Strongly agree22%9%
Somewhat agree34%24%
Somewhat disagree20%21%
Strongly disagree19%33%
Don't know/No opinion6%12%

Views of the #metoo movement as it became prominent (February 2018).

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Very favorable39%13%6%
Somewhat favorable27%5%10%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable16%30%19%
Somewhat unfavorable6%17%22%
Very unfavorable1%15%29%
Don't know/no opinion10%20%14%

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Very favorable18%23%
Somewhat favorable16%18%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable18%20%
Somewhat unfavorable18%12%
Very unfavorable19%12%
Don't know/no opinion10%16%

The importance of Supreme Court appointments to Republican partisans and Trump voters.

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The economy19%21%14%
Foreign policy3%4%3%
Health care11%5%4%
Race relations5%0%1%
The criminal justice system2%0%0%
Gun policy5%7%1%
Police-community relations6%2%0%
Nominating Justices to the Supreme Court19%18%33%
Trade with other countries2%2%1%
National security4%15%12%

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categoryNot supporting Donald TrumpSupporting Donald Trump
The economy19%14%
Foreign policy5%2%
Health care10%4%
Race relations4%1%
The criminal justice system2%0%
Gun policy4%2%
Police-community relations5%0%
Nominating Justices to the Supreme Court16%35%
Trade with other countries3%0%
National security6%12%

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The economy20%14%
Foreign policy5%2%
Health care5%9%
Race relations2%4%
The criminal justice system1%1%
Gun policy3%3%
Police-community relations5%1%
Nominating Justices to the Supreme Court26%24%
Trade with other countries2%1%
National security6%11%

Views of the FBI.

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Very favorable26%9%7%
Somewhat favorable36%18%19%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable20%24%23%
Somewhat unfavorable6%13%27%
Very unfavorable5%17%18%
Don't know/no opinion7%19%6%

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Very favorable14%16%
Somewhat favorable26%25%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable20%24%
Somewhat unfavorable19%14%
Very unfavorable17%9%
Don't know/no opinion3%11%

John Cornyn’s job approval ratings.

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Approve strongly3%8%14%
Approve somewhat6%17%32%
Neither approve nor disapprove17%21%24%
Disapprove somewhat18%10%12%
Disapprove strongly44%28%6%
Don't know12%17%11%

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Approve strongly11%6%
Approve somewhat20%18%
Neither approve nor disapprove20%23%
Disapprove somewhat18%11%
Disapprove strongly25%23%
Don't know6%18%

Ted Cruz’s job approval ratings.

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Approve strongly2%10%42%
Approve somewhat7%7%32%
Neither approve nor disapprove10%24%11%
Disapprove somewhat9%12%6%
Disapprove strongly65%31%3%
Don't know6%15%7%

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Approve strongly28%16%
Approve somewhat19%17%
Neither approve nor disapprove10%15%
Disapprove somewhat8%8%
Disapprove strongly31%34%
Don't know4%10%

Donald Trump’s job approval ratings.

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Approve strongly3%25%55%
Approve somewhat5%18%32%
Neither approve nor disapprove8%10%5%
Disapprove somewhat9%6%3%
Disapprove strongly75%39%4%
Don't know1%2%1%

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Approve strongly36%23%
Approve somewhat18%19%
Neither approve nor disapprove8%7%
Disapprove somewhat4%8%
Disapprove strongly34%42%
Don't know0%1%