Democrats and Republicans, on the whole, have markedly different views about sexual harassment in the workplace, according to a new, large-scale survey by the Pew Research Center conducted against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.
According to Pew, about six in 10 Democrats say the United States has a major problem on its hands in terms of men getting away with sexual harassment and women not being believed when they allege they were victimized. By contrast, about one in three Republicans identifies these as major problems.
Have the #MeToo movement's repercussions made it harder for men to navigate workplace interactions with women? Among Republicans, 64 percent said yes; only 42 percent of Democrats agreed.
The nationally representative survey of 6,251 adults was conducted Feb. 26 to March 11. Pew said the margin of error for the full sample of respondents was plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.
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Since #MeToo gained momentum in October, scores of prominent men have lost jobs and status because of sexual misconduct allegations. They have spanned the political spectrum, from liberal U.S. Sen. Al Franken to conservative Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.
Thus far, however, the states moving most aggressively to pass tough anti-harassment legislation are Democratic-led states such as Washington, New York and Connecticut. And Democrats make up about three-quarters of the record number of women expected to seek congressional office in the midterm elections.
According to the Pew survey, 59 percent of American women and 27 percent of men say they have received unwanted sexual advances or verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Among women, those with at least some college education are more likely than those with less education to say they have experienced sexual harassment. About 70 percent of women with at least a bachelor's degree reported such harassment, compared with 46 percent of women with a high school education or less.
Among white women, 63 percent reported experiencing sexual harassment or unwanted advances, compared to about half of black and Hispanic women.
Survey respondents seemed uncertain about the impact of the #MeToo movement. Just 28 percent said the increased focus on sexual harassment would lead to more opportunities for women in the workplace in the long run. Twenty percent said it will lead to fewer opportunities; about half said it won't make much of a difference.