This week’s Quinnipiac poll shows how likely it is that these comments will resonate positively with that intended audience. The poll finds that a plurality of Americans opposes the confirmation of Kavanaugh, and believes Christine Blasey Ford is more to be believed than Kavanaugh is. But we obtained an additional breakdown of these numbers from Quinnipiac, and it shows that support and sympathy for Kavanaugh is simply overwhelming among one particular demographic more than any other — that is, non-college-educated white men. The numbers:
- 65 percent of non-college-educated white men support confirming Kavanaugh
- 66 percent of them believe Kavanaugh over Ford
- 69 percent of them believe Kavanaugh is honest
- 64 percent of them approve of Trump’s handling of the Kavanaugh nomination
- 65 percent of them believe Kavanaugh has been treated unfairly
- 72 percent of them believe Kavanaugh has been the target of a smear campaign
It turns out this isn’t simply a male thing, or even a white male thing. These percentages are substantially higher than the percentages among men overall and even among college educated white men.
The reason I bring this up is to add to Ron Brownstein’s new piece, which argues that perceptions of the Kavanaugh affair are deeply shaped not just by the gender divided, but by the class divide as well. Brownstein’s is more focused on how this is playing out among women. He notes that college-educated white women are far more likely to sympathize with Ford than non-college-educated white women are. This is part of a broader pattern in which the Trump era has driven a heavy backlash among educated white women who have tended to tilt Republican, giving Democrats an opening to lock in big gains among that demographic.
But the flip side of this is that the cultural, racial and gender schisms that Trump is very consciously trying to widen, through deliberate provocations of one kind or another, may only be deepening his bond with non-college-educated white men. When Trump presents Kavanaugh as the true victim in this situation, and when he sweepingly declares that the moral of the Kavanaugh story is that men across America are in great danger of unfair persecution, he seems to know exactly what he’s doing.