Collins Might Be More Likely to Listen to Constituents Than Outside Groups on Kavanaugh Confirmation

Collins Might Be More Likely to Listen to Constituents Than Outside Groups on Kavanaugh Confirmation
PRRI’s Research Director Dan Cox, PhD., appeared on Hill.TV to discuss Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is considered a swing vote for the upcoming Kavanaugh confirmation. Cox argued that local constituents may hold the key in influencing Collins’ decision. “I think that these outside interest groups aren’t going to play a huge role in the outside calculations. I think the senator [Collins] will be paying very close attention to the sentiment back home, and so I’m sure her staff are closely monitoring that,” he said. Collins has stated in the past that “a candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have.” In a PRRI Spotlight analysis, PRRI Research Assistant Alex Vandermaas-Peeler examines the views of Collins’ constituency on this issue. She writes, “In 2014, two-thirds of Maine residents said abortion should be legal in most (41 percent) or all cases (26 percent). Only three in ten Maine residents think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. In only two states do residents express greater support for legal abortion: New Hampshire (73 percent) and Vermont (69 percent).”
Almost Half of White Evangelicals Would Support Kavanaugh Even if the Allegations were True
A new Marist poll illustrates that white evangelical culture minimizes the seriousness of sexual assault, notes Tara Isabella Burton at Vox. When asked if they would support the embattled U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, if the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were found to be true, nearly half (48 percent) of white evangelicals said they would, while 36 percent of white evangelicals said they would not. That same poll also found that a majority (54 percent) of Republicans would still support Kavanaugh if the accusations were found to be true, while only 12 percent of Democrats would. A recent PRRI Spotlight analysis explored a similar point, noting divergent concerns around accusations of sexual assault across political parties. PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, PhD., points out, “One primary reason Republican Party leaders are pushing forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination is that the party’s support for Trump has already pulled the needle on their moral compass away from the relevance of character and personal moral conduct.”
White Boys Will be Boys: Kavanaugh, #MeToo, and Race
In an op-ed for Religion News Service, Keri Day, PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary professor and PRRI Public Fellow, discusses the “racial problem at the heart of white conservative Christian America,” highlighted during the charged Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Citing evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham, who have called the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford “not relevant,” Day writes, “We should be concerned about what Kavanaugh represents: a doubling down of white evangelical Christian America in the face of growing ethnic, gender and religious diversity.” According to PRRI polling, nearly eight in ten (79 percent) white working-class evangelical Protestants express fear that the country is losing its culture and identity, compared to 56 percent of those who are religiously unaffiliated.
NAFTA Becomes USMCA in Last-Minute Deal
Late Sunday evening, the U.S. and Canada reached an agreement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which is set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As reported by Alan Rappeport for The New York Times, this trade deal is considered to be a win for President Trump, who threatened to exclude Canada from NAFTA rewrites if it didn’t agree to open its dairy market to American farmers. Per a 2017 PRRI survey, more than six in ten (63 percent) Americans are in favor of promoting free trade, while about three in ten (29 percent) say the U.S. should place more restrictions on foreign trade.
California is First State to Mandate More Women on Corporate Boards
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed new legislation requiring all publicly traded corporations headquartered in California to include women on their boards, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. In his statement to the California State Senate, copied to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Brown wrote, “It’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half of all ‘persons’ in America.” The bill stipulates that by 2021, five-member boards in California must have at least two female members, and boards with six or more members must include at least three women. The bill is projected to go into effect by the end of 2019 amid legal concernsraised by the California Chamber of Commerce and Jessica Levinson, a California law professor. Per a 2018 PRRI survey, more than one in ten (11 percent) Californians report that they or someone in their household have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace in the last 12 months.