Washington, DC, October 5, 2018 – The #MeToo movement that went viral last fall following the Harvey Weinstein scandal started as a way to elevate awareness around sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace. However, with the recent sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the movement is experiencing a resurgence, just in time for the one-year anniversary of its initial surge. According to a new Ipsos/Buzzfeed News poll, not only are most Americans familiar (71%) with the #MeToo movement, many also say that it has changed how sexual harassment is handled in their workplace (38%). The movement has evidently changed the way many women understand sexual harassment/assault, as 24% say it has made them realize that they may have been a victim. Only 12% of men say the same. About four in ten Americans believe the movement has both changed how their male coworkers think about sexual harassment (42%) and how women are treated in their workplace (38%).
Accusations of prominent people have largely shaped perceptions of the #MeToo movement. Most Americans (56%) believe that the whole movement is discredited when leading voices of the movement are accused themselves, though a larger portion of men (62%) than women (50%) agree. Men are also more inclined than women to believe that some have been unfairly accused during the movement (59% vs. 51% of women) and that the prominent people accused of sexual harassment/assault have been adequately punished (26% vs. 19% of women). These opinions also differ across political parties, as more Republicans (69%) than Democrats (47%) agree that some people have been unfairly accused. Republicans (51%) are also more likely than Democrats (23%) to believe that the movement has lost sight of its original goals. A plurality of Americans in both parties agree, however, that the movement has only changed things for famous people (40% vs. 38% of Democrats).
Opinions about recent sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh also highlight certain gender and party disparities. In a split-sample exercise, half of the respondents were asked whether Kavanaugh should be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice in light of recent allegations of sexual misconduct. Almost half (47%) say he should not be confirmed while a quarter say he should. Republicans and Democrats are very split on this issue, with a lot more Republicans believing he should be confirmed (49% vs. 10% of Democrats). Women are also much less inclined to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation (17% vs. 32% of men). The poll then asks the same question to the other half-sample, this time disclosing that the alleged sexual assault occurred more than 35 years ago, when Kavanaugh was 17. Among those that heard this version of the question, the number of Americans who support his confirmation is 10-percentage points higher (35%), while the number of those who oppose his confirmation is 10-percentage points lower (37%). Furthermore, when asked whether they would vote for a political candidate accused of sexual harassment/assault, the majority (57%) of Democrats say no, while the majority of Republicans say it would depend on the specific allegations (62%).
About the Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 18-20, 2018, on behalf of BuzzFeed News. For the survey, a sample of roughly 2,011 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 852 men, 1,159 women, 714 Republicans, 702 Democrats, 384 Independents.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,011, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for men, 3.3 percentage points for women, 4.2 percentage points for Republicans, 4.2 percentage points for Democrats, and 5.7 for Independents.
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