#MeToo poll: Many in US more willing to call out misconduct
Americans have witnessed a public reckoning since 2017 when the #MeToo movement revealed the persistent prevalence of sexual assault in everyday life. It brought down a number of powerful men.
But, has this movement made a difference in their lives? A new poll indicates that it has. According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research ., roughly half of Americans (54%) believe that recent attention has increased their willingness to speak up if they are victims of sexual misconduct.
And 58% report that they would be more open to speaking out if they witnessed it.
Among other findings in the survey of American adults, conducted Sept 23-27:
— About 6 in 10 women and roughly 4 in 10 men say the attention to sexual misconduct has made them more likely to speak out if they are victimized. Women are more likely to report any sexual misconduct they see, even though men tend to agree (63% with women, and 53% with men.
— The majority of Americans, 61%, say the recent attention to sexual misconduct in the U.S. has been good for women in general, up from 45% in January 2020. Now, just 19% say it has been negative; another 19% say there has not been much impact.
— Nearly half — 45% — say it’s been good for the country, while 24% say it’s had a detrimental effect. That’s also a significant change since January 2020, when Americans were more closely divided over the impact: 33% said positive, while 38% said negative.
— Somewhat more people now feel the movement has been good for men as well: 25% say so, compared with 19% in 2020.
— Respondents see less positive change in women of color than women overall. Forty-one percent say the movement has had a good impact, though just 18% say it has been negative. Women of color, however, are more positive about their personal impact on the movement. Four in 10 say the movement has been good for them. That’s more than the 25% of white women who feel that way.
— Black Americans tend to feel that the negative impact of this on men of color is especially common. Nearly half — 45% — feel that’s the case, compared with 28% of Americans overall.
— More Americans under 30 say they have talked with others about sexual misconduct (45% vs. 31%) and changed how they interact with others (34% vs. 24%) in the past year.
— More Democrats than Republicans say they have discussed the issue in the past year, 41% vs. 27%.
— Just 35% of Americans now say sexual misconduct is an “extremely” or “very” serious problem in the workplace, down from 56% in 2017. Another 47% states that it is a “somewhat serious problem” in today’s workplaces.
— About 6 in 10 call sexual misconduct on social media an “extremely” or “very” serious problem.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,099 adults was conducted Sept. 23-27 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.