Discouraging

Poll suggests backlash to #MeToo movement could be developing, particularly among Trump supporters

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In the eyes of many, the #MeToo movement was seen as a potential breaking point — a sign that women would finally be believed when they dared to speak out about sexual assault. Unfortunately, a new poll from The Economist indicates that the opposite might actually be true, especially among voters, men and women alike, who support Donald Trump.

A poll of 1,500 Americans conducted by YouGov found a small but significant shift in people’s attitudes toward victims of assault this September compared to November 2017 — when the #MeToo exploded after bombshell reports on Harvey Weinstein and other media power brokers emerged. The percentage of people who thought that women’s complaints about sexual harassment caused more problems than they solved increased from 29 to 31 percent. While the barometer for men, overall, remained the same, women actually became more likely to suggest that other women keep quiet about their experiences.

In a similar vein, the number of adults who felt that men who sexually harassed women in their workplaces 20 years ago has risen from 28 percent to 36 percent of respondents, and 18 percent of Americans said that that false accusations of sexual assault were a bigger problem than unreported or unpunished attacks — a five-point increase compared to last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest shift in views on sexual assault was shown in Trump voters, whose opinion of women’s credibility and the seriousness of assault has decreased significantly — an effect possibly exacerbated by the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process. On each of the three questions posed by the poll, the percentage difference between Trump and Clinton voters was six times greater than the gap between men and women.

Read the full story at The Economist.

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