NBC: Just 9% suspect sexual misconduct in their own offices

December 4, 2017

More than four out of every five Americans (80%) believe that sexual harassment is taking place in the workplace, but most men say they haven’t thought about changing their behavior, according to a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll—released just one day after the television network fired Today anchor Matt Lauer for cause.

The survey found, however, that very few people — just 9% of those employed — believe that sexual harassment is a problem in their own office. And three-quarters of those now working believe that their workplace demonstrates about the right amount of sensitivity on the emotionally charged issue, the news organization found.

The poll, one of the first to measure attitudes since sexual misconduct scandals began to dominate the news in October with the outing of film producer Harvey Weinstein, was conducted online from November 27 through November 29, with 3,772 adults responding.

Americans believe by a wide margin that sexual harassment has not increased, the survey showed. A large majority say that, instead, the incidents are being reported more widely because people are more willing to speak up now than they were in the past. A full two-thirds (66%) held that view, while just 13% said they thought misconduct had increased, the survey found. Another 18% blamed media overreaction for fueling the current furor.

Only 46% of men say they have thought more about their behavior toward women since the news articles began.

The NBC/SurveyMonkey poll also found a sharp partisan divide in reactions to the scandals. The survey found that Democratic men were more than twice as likely as Republican men to say that they had reflected on their own behavior, or their attitudes toward women, since the wave of sexually charged scandals began.

Some 68% of men who identified themselves as Republicans or leaning toward the party said they had not reflected on their own behavior or attitudes toward women.

The poll found the party-line break extended to women, with Democratic women much more likely than their Republican counterparts to say the revelations would cause them to speak up about the issue. Sixty percent of Democratic women deemed themselves more likely to speak up now, compared to just 33%

Research contact: jim.rainey@nbcuni.com

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