From a 35,000-foot view, the story in the generic ballot numbers is largely one of stability.1 If you want to be more precise, however, the trend in the generic ballot now depends on what point in time you’re comparing against. The GOP’s current deficit on the generic ballot, 8.0 percentage points, is a bit worse than it was before Kavanaugh was nominated, when it was 7.4 percentage points. It’s slightly better than it was when Ford’s name was disclosed, however, when it was 9.1 percentage points, or since just before last week’s hearings, when it was 8.6 percentage points.
Trump’s approval ratings have largely followed the same trajectory as the generic ballot, having slumped in early-to-mid September and since rebounded slightly. It’s not clear how much of that is Kavanaugh-related, however, as the president was dealing with a lot of other news in August and early September, such as the guilty pleas of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Merely staying out of the headlines while Kavanaugh was the lead story may have helped Trump’s numbers revert to the mean. It’s also not clear if Trump’s numbers have improved since last week’s Senate hearings; in the all-polls version of our average, they’ve gotten a bit better, but in the registered-voter version, they’ve gotten slightly worse. (There hasn’t yet been time for the polls to reflect any impact of Trump having mocked Ford at a rally on Tuesday night.)