Americans and Judge Kavanaugh: The Numbers Are In

New PRRI Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Believe Kavanaugh Would Vote to Overturn Roe v. Wade
With the U.S. Senate poised to confirm the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, PRRI released a new survey showing nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe Judge Kavanaugh will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision establishing abortion rights, if confirmed. The survey also finds the majority (56 percent) of Americans say Roe was rightly decided and should be upheld. Fifty-two percent of Republicans, including 60 percent of Republican women, feel Roe was incorrectly decided and should be overturned, compared to just 21 percent of Democrats. “This new poll demonstrates the dramatic power of partisanship over gender on the issue of a constitutional right to abortion services,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones PhD. “While Democratic women overwhelmingly believe that Roe v. Wade was the right decision by the Supreme Court, Republican women are more convinced than even Republican men that it should be overturned.”
Cardinal Wuerl to Meet with Pope Francis
A Tuesday night report in The New York Times indicated that Cardinal Donald Wuerl would soon visit Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss his resignation. Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has come under public scrutiny after it was alleged that he had knowledge of years of abuse allegations against priests under his watch, specifically the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. A PRRI report from 2016 showed that those who were raised Catholic are more likely than those raised in any other religion to cite the clergy sexual-abuse scandal (32 percent vs.19 percent) as a primary reason for why they left the Church. His upcoming meeting with Pope Francis will be Cardinal Wuerl’s second meeting with the pope in as many months.
Franklin Graham and his “Uneasy” Relationship with Donald Trump
A new report in The New Yorker examines the relationship between pastor Franklin Graham, and President Donald Trump. The piece notes that Graham’s embrace of the president and fierce defense of his name stands in contrast to how his father interacted with political figures. PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones PhD comments on Billy Graham’s public persona within the article, saying: “He didn’t shy away from talking about sin, but it didn’t feel like an assault.” The article’s author, Eliza Griswold, adds that the elder Graham supported politicians of both parties throughout his life, despite being a registered Democrat. Griswold quotes Franklin Graham, who says he tries “his best to stay out of Beltway politics.” Despite this stated intention, Graham has frequently injected his name in support of the current president. Earlier this year, he began to sell Trump-themed merchandise on his church’s website, Griswold points out. Recent PRRI polling found that white evangelicals continue to find Trump favorable. In July, PRRI found that 73 percent of white evangelical Protestants had a favorable opinion of President Trump.
The Future of Abortion Under a New Supreme Court?
The New York Times ran a story on an Arkansas case going through the courts currently and how it could have national implications under a new majority-conservative  U.S. Supreme Court. The case involves a new state law that would bar clinics from performing abortions through medication. A judge has since suspended the law, but there remains a legal fight to reinstate it. Sabrina Tavernise notes, “Arkansas is in the heart of a broad band through the country’s middle and south where abortion access in most states is already down to a few clinics. This map formed gradually, abortion rights advocates say, as red states passed laws that tested the boundaries of abortion restrictions, and federal appeals courts — in particular in the Eighth and Fifth Circuits — upheld them.” According to a new PRRI poll, 48 percent of Americans believe that if confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Read the latest poll here.
Education Department Changes Definition of Anti-Semitism
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has changed its working definition of anti-Semitism to include anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric. This policy change, originally introduced in the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, was sparked by the re-opening of a 2011 case against Rutgers University that was closed by the Obama administration. The ACLU, PEN America, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education are opposed to this new definition of anti-Semitism, arguing that it will hinder free speech on college campuses and equate criticism of Israel as an attack on Jewish students. Pro-Israel groups like the American Jewish Committee and the Zionist Organization of America have praised the Trump administration for this new policy.