Hours after the president was accused of sexual assault by one of the most famous advice columnists in the United States, 53% of American voters hadn’t heard anything about it.
A HuffPost/YouGov survey conducted Friday and Saturday, shortly after “Elle” columnist E. Jean Carroll published her “New York” magazine cover story accusing Donald Trump of a violent sexual assault in the mid-1990s, found that just 11% of Americans had heard “a lot” about the allegations. Those numbers shifted a little when factoring in survey respondents’ political affiliations — 55% of Trump voters said they’d heard “nothing at all” about the allegations, compared to 39% of people who’d voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to the survey, published earlier this week.
Carroll’s allegations got relatively scant attention in the media. As of Tuesday, Fox News had dedicated just four minutes and six seconds to covering the story, according to the liberal-leaning Media Matters for America. None of the major Sunday shows — on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and Fox — asked interviewees about the allegations, HuffPost found.
Similarly, some of the country’s largest newspapers — like the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune — did not put the accusation on their front page, the Columbia Journalism Review reported. The New York Times even relegated it to their books section; Carroll’s story was an excerpt from her new memoir, due out Tuesday. (Its head editor later admitted that the paper mishandled the story.)
In any case, the HuffPost/YouGov survey revealed that voters’ opinion of Trump’s relationship with women may actually be improving. After the leak of the “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, in which Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, 59% of voters said that then-candidate Trump does not respect women.
In Friday’s poll, only 51% of voters said the same.
Two women have said that Carroll told them about the assault, which Carroll said took place in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, shortly after it happened. More than 20 women have now said that Trump has made some kind of unwanted sexual advance toward them, including groping and forcible kissing.
Trump has denied Carroll’s allegation.
“Number one, she’s not my type,” he said Monday. “Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?”
Cover: E. Jean Carroll is photographed, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. Carroll, a New York-based advice columnist, claims Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s. Trump denies knowing Carroll. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)