Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the recent allegations “mainly reflect widespread problems in society,” compared with just 28% attributing them mainly to individual misconduct, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4 among 1,503 adults.
Women are more likely than men (71% vs. 60%) to see allegations of sexual misconduct as mainly reflective of broad societal problems. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (70%) are also somewhat more likely to say this than Republicans and Republican leaners (61%).
Among Republicans and leaners, women are more likely than men to say the recent allegations reflect widespread problems in society – 69% of GOP women say this, compared with 54% of Republican men. Gender differences among Democrats are more modest (74% of Democratic women see the allegations as a societal problem vs. 66% of Democratic men).
The recent flood of reports about sexual harassment and violence by high-profile men in fields ranging from entertainment to politics have resonated with the public. More than nine-in-ten (92%) have heard at least a little about alleged harassment and assault by prominent men in entertainment, politics and the media and 74% say they have heard “a lot.”
Democrats and Democratic leaners are 20 percentage points more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to view the issue of sexual assault and harassment as very important. Nevertheless, nearly nine-in-ten Republicans (87%) say it is at least somewhat important. Very few Republicans or Democrats regard this issue as not important.
More women than men say the issue of sexual assault and harassment is very important. And adults younger than 30 are more likely to view this issue as very important than are people 50 and older.