A bare majority of Utahns want Brett Kavanaugh confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Supreme Court, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.

Dan Jones & Associates finds that 51 percent of Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” support Kavanaugh’s confirmation – whose hearings in the Senate started Tuesday.

Twenty-eight percent don’t want Kavanaugh on the highest court.

And 21 percent don’t know. That is a rather high “don’t know” number – as these things go.

And Utah women are much more skeptical of Kavanaugh than are men, likely reflecting general concern over the high court’s now 45-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

You can read about Kavanaugh here.

This is a highly partisan confirmation process, as live broadcasts of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings Tuesday showed.

Senate Democrats strongly oppose even holding the hearings, saying tens of thousands of documents are either being withheld by the Donald Trump White House or were dumped on the committee recently – and more time is needed to review them.

GOP senators point out that Kavanaugh’s confirmation has more public documents than the last five U.S. Supreme Court nominees combined, and that the process needs to go forward unhindered now.

Meanwhile, as GOP senators on the committee tried to speak Tuesday, many of them – including Utah’s Orrin Hatch – were almost drowned out by hecklers in the committee room, until police removed them.

 

You may recall that Democratic President Barack Obama had his nomination for the high court, Merrick Garland, blocked by the majority Republican Senate for nearly a year, until he left office, allowing Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch.

Kavanaugh is Trump’s second nomination to the high court in as many years.

Senate Republicans are determined to get him on the high court before the November mid-term elections – as Democrats have an outside chance of winning control of the Senate.

The partisanship of this confirmation is seen in Jones’ findings:

-- Utah Republicans support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, 77-4 percent, with 19 percent undecided.

-- Democrats oppose it, 74-8 percent, with 18 percent undecided.

-- And political independents, who don’t belong to any political party, are split, 38 percent want him on the high court, 37 percent don’t, and 26 percent are undecided.

As you’d expect, Utah conservatives want him on the court, moderates and liberals don’t.

Kavanaugh could be a swing vote on a number of critical issues, including abortion.

He’s said that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing early-term abortions in the United States is “settled law.”

But that’s not good enough for many Democrats, with several Democratic senators Tuesday wanting to know if Kavanaugh believes Roe v. Wade is “good law” – in other words, worthy of not being overturned by the now-conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

Jones finds Utah women have a different opinion of Kavanaugh than do men:

-- 63 percent of men want him confirmed.

-- But only 39 percent of women agree – he should be on the high court.  That is a large 24-percentage-point difference.

-- 30 percent of women say he should not be confirmed, but only 25 percent of men agree.

-- A large 30 percent of Utah women “don’t know” if he should be confirmed or not, while only 12 percent of men are undecided.

Jones polled 809 adults from Aug. 22-31. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.