You should be able to guess the answer by asking yourself which party stands more to lose right now if it took a zero-tolerance approach to charges of sexual misconduct. The most prominent accused officeholder among Democrats is Al Franken, a Senate backbencher whose worst alleged offense is an unwanted kiss. The most prominent accused officeholder among Republicans is the president of the United States. And to raise the stakes, the party’s already dubious nominee for Senate in Alabama is at real risk of fumbling a red seat away because he’s been credibly accused of misconduct too.
So yes, of course Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say they’d ignore harassment accusations by multiple women to vote for a candidate whom they agreed with on the issues. They did it a year ago! Ask this same question 20 years ago at the height of the Clenis troubles in the White House, when Republicans were howling that “character counts!” and Democrats were sneering that Monica was a consenting adult, and the numbers would be different.
Trump won Republicans 88/8 according to last year’s exit poll, by the way. Good luck squaring that with the 41 percent of GOPers who answered “definitely not” here.
Republicans are evenly split, Democrats are -69 net. Yet when Quinnipiac asked people if they think accused harassers are now more likely to be held accountable in light of all the recent revelations, Dems and GOPers scored exactly the same: 64 percent said they are, notwithstanding the wide partisan split on Trump. A similar split shows up on whether Roy Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins the election, as you might expect:
In every group there’s at least a plurality in favor of expulsion — except one. Republicans are more evenly divided than you might expect at 33/49, with potential for growth in the pro-expulsion group if more accusers come forward against Moore. But Moore has two big weapons on his side. One: If he wins, a large chunk of the pro-expulsion crowd is likely to consider the matter settled, I suspect, on grounds that the people have spoken. Two: Trump himself will probably adopt that line, not wanting a nasty brawl within the party over kicking out Moore to alienate populists with the midterms less than a year away. I assume Republican support for expulsion will collapse once Moore is seated.
Ousting Trump would be a much heavier lift, of course. More than 60 percent of Republicans would oppose impeachment even if you could *prove* he harassed women.
That’d be an interesting political debate. If it was “only” harassment — not assault, not rape — and if it happened before he took office, is that an impeachable offense? Does it depend on the number of victims?
Anyway, expect Republicans to remain more willing to look past harassment allegations until the summer of 2020 at the earliest, when Democrats will have a new nominee whose alleged workplace sins, if there are any, will need to be ignored for partisan reasons too.