Tepid Polling Puts Doug Jones ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ Ahead of Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote

Doug Jones, Brett Kavanaugh
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A Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday revealed tepid polling for Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), which puts him “between a rock and a hard place” ahead of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s October confirmation vote.

The survey found tepid support for the junior senator from Alabama. Across all Alabama voters, 29 percent somewhat approve of Sen. Jones, 16 percent strongly approve of Jones, and 28 percent either strongly or somewhat disapprove of Jones. Twenty-seven percent of Alabamans don’t know enough to register an opinion regarding Jones’ job performance as a recent senator.

Twenty-seven percent of Republican voters somewhat approved of the Alabama senator, and nine percent approved of Sen. Jones, whereas 16 percent somewhat approved of Sen. Jones and 23 percent strongly disapproved of the Alabama Democrat.

Sen. Jones barely defeated Alabama Judge Roy Moore in December in a special election by 1.6 percent (49.9 to 48.3 percent); a small drop in Republican or independent support for Jones could tank his re-election chances in 2020, especially against a conservative champion such as Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).

Mark Kennedy, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice, state Democratic Party chairman, and a friend of Jones’, told Morning Consult that Sen. Jones faces a difficult situation regarding his potential support for Kavanaugh given Alabama’s conservative values.

Kennedy explained:

He’s going to be put between a rock and a hard place as his constituency has very conservative values. Anytime you represent a conservative state, there’s an ongoing battle as it relates to following your views and your mindset, and to what the people want to do.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will start to hold confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh on September 4, and the Senate plans to have a full confirmation vote on October 1. Alabama’s strong support for President Trump and his nominee Judge Kavanaugh will put significant pressure on Jones to support Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

Ninety-two percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s job performance, including 61 percent of those Republicans strongly approving. Sixty-two percent of all voters in Alabama approved of Trump, with 36 percent strongly approving of the president.

Alabamans strongly approve of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh as well. The conservative advocacy group Judicial Crisis Network found that 54 percent of Alabamans support Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

In contrast, Democrats across the nation oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation by nearly a 5-to-1 margin.

“Doug owes it to himself and owes it to the people of Alabama to do what he thinks is right,” Kennedy said. “If you spoke to someone else in this Walmart pharmacy, you’d probably get a different opinion.”

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