A poster at the Oslo 2018 Women's March that says 'TIme's Up.'


Poll shows public perception on sexual harassment is changing—for the better

Even men and Republicans are considering harassment a problem.


Samantha Grasso


Published Jan 24, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 3:34 am CDT

Nearly four months after the start of the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault sparked by the ousting of predatory producer Harvey Weinstein, the tides of public opinion are turning for the better.

According to a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post that surveyed 1,005 adults, 62 percent of Americans think these discussions on assault and harassment, like those revolving around the Me Too and Hollywood’s Time’s Up movements, will create permanent change for how the U.S. treats the issues as a whole. Furthermore, 83 percent of people say workplace sexual harassment of women is a problem, with 72 percent calling it a “serious” problem, and both figures up by 8 percentage points since the poll was first issued in October.

Broken down by gender, it seems that men have finally done some of the listening, soul-searching, and behavior analysis that women have been calling for throughout this process. 81 percent of men consider workplace sexual harassment to be a “problem,” raising 10 percentage points from October, and 67 percent consider it “serious,” a 7 percentage point raise.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of women consider it to be a problem, a 5 percentage point raise from October, with 77 percent calling it “serious,” another 7 percentage point raise.

In reaction to how industries have responded to women coming forward with stories of assault and harassment, 34 percent of those polled said the attention has been “about right.” Meanwhile, 29 percent says the attention hasn’t “gone far enough,” while 32 percent say it’s gone “too far.” Ideologically, 49 precent of Republicans polled and 51 percent of strong conservatives agree with this “too far” sentiment.

Men, too, are the largest conveyors of the this resistance, with 35 percent of all men saying it’s gone “too far,” and 41 percent of men over 50 years old agreeing with this sentiment. Meanwhile, 38 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of liberals say not enough has been done, though 24 percent of women under 50 years old also say it’s gone “too far.”

Republicans, however, have had a stark reconsideration over the seriousness of workplace sexual harassment. 74 percent of those polled said they consider it to be a problem, while 59 percent call it “serious,” a 16 and 17 percentage point increase, respectively.

View a graph and chart of the polls and comparisons below:

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*First Published: Jan 24, 2018, 11:10 am CST