A new poll shows startling partisan divides over #MeToo. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans believe false accusations of sexual assault are common, and 75 percent of them think the movement has gone too far.
Most Americans surveyed in a new NPR/Ipsos poll out Wednesday believe that the #MeToo movement that took off a year ago is holding more people accountable. But when respondents disagreed significantly on various poll questions, it was more along party lines than men vs. women. That divide was particularly striking on the question of false accusations: Seventy-seven percent of Republicans believe they are common, while just 37 percent of Democrats do. The gap of belief between parties is quadruple the size of the gap between genders.
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On a similar note, about 85 percent of Democrats believe that victims should be given the benefit of the doubt, while just 67 percent of Republicans believe that. It’s a gap that’s almost twice the size of the gap between genders.
When asked if the #MeToo movement has gone too far, just 21 percent of Democrats said no while 75 percent of Republicans said yes. The gap is far smaller between men and women, generally: 36 percent of women say it’s gone too far, while 51 percent of men say the same.
The poll is a reflection of party divides at the national level, where Republicans last month pushed Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by several women, through the confirmation process to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. Democrats supported his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh assaulted her while they were both teenagers.
Numerous women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault and misconduct. The president himself has expressed sympathy for accused men, saying it’s a “scary time for young men in America.”
The movement came to the fore in October 2017 after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, kicking off an ongoing wave of similar accusations against dozens of men in business, entertainment and politics.