By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Did two women with their foot in a Capitol Hill elevator door and a barrage of righteous indignation for Sen. Jeff Flake over the Brett Kavanaugh situation really force a one-week delay in his final confirmation vote?

It makes a great story, and it might have played a role. But senators get yelled at all the time.

More likely, Flake – who, while leaving the Senate next year, harbors presidential ambitions – and other Republicans can read the political tea leaves, a.k.a. polls.

Keep in mind the historically-poor approval ratings for this Supreme Court nominee even before the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford surfaced, and what has happened since.

Just take a look at the results of a national CBS News poll taken four days after she went public, but nearly a week before her riveting testimony on September 27th.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Should the FBI investigate her story, likely voters were asked? Fifty-three percent said yes, why not? And yet when that issue was raised during yesterday’s hearing, Republicans repeatedly refused to consider it, and Judge Kavanaugh himself was rendered speechless by the suggestion.

And remember, that poll result was before Dr. Ford gave testimony that was widely labelled credible by the Republicans themselves.

Up until this afternoon, the Republican position (and that of President Trump) has been that further delay in this process was unfair. Why the sudden willingness of GOP senators- and even the notoriously-unyielding president himself – to put the final vote off and OK that FBI probe?

Because we are 38 days away from midterm elections that will determine if the Republicans will retain control of the Senate at all. They are surely aware by now that many women, not just Democrats, were moved by Ford’s story and want it handled properly.


And in that same CBS News survey, again, taken days before her testimony, 55 percent of women said they wanted that FBI investigation.

That’s an ominous sign and neither the Republicans nor the White House can afford to risk letting a backlash catch fire that could cost them that crucial Senate majority and any chance at controlling this Supreme Court seat.

Jon Keller


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