Man, I can’t remember the last time I saw a poll result for which I couldn’t even half-ass a theory to explain the result.
I got nothing for this HuffPost/YouGov graph except “wow”:
Can’t chalk that up to a large margin of error. YouGov’s sample of 998 people is perfectly respectable. Can’t blame it on women being (inexplicably) more skeptical about sexual harassment charges than men either. When YouGov asked people if they agree or disagree with the statement “Women who complain about harassment often cause more problems than they solve,” more women strongly disagreed (56 percent) than men did (46 percent). Similarly, when asked if they agree or disagree with the statement “Sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer a problem in the United States,” women were more likely to strongly disagree (67 percent) than men were (49 percent). And when people were asked how serious a problem they thought workplace sexual harassment was, 41 percent of women said “very serious” compared to just 26 percent of men. It’s not the prevalence of sexual harassment in general that women have doubts about.
It’s just the case of Big Harv.
Anyone want to spitball an explanation? I’m tempted to say that it’s a left/right thing, where men are more right-wing on average and therefore more willing to believe the worst about the liberal Weinstein while women, who are more left-wing on average, are a bit more skeptical for partisan reasons. But that’s stupid. Weinstein isn’t a politician. Democratic donors may be invested in him but rank-and-file liberals really aren’t. I’d bet a fair share of the population hasn’t even followed the story closely enough to know that Weinstein’s a friend of the Clintons and Obamas. And even if they have, how many women are so partisan about a Democratic donor that they’d give him the benefit of the doubt for ideological reasons alone when he’s been accused by 40+ women? The safe explanation here is that the data on Weinstein is an outlier, which happens all the time with otherwise statistically sound polls. But it feels like a cop out in this case when all of the other results confirm what you’d suspect about the two genders’ reaction to this topic.
Here’s another shocking result from the same poll although this one’s more explicable. When 2016 voters are asked how credible they find the allegations against Weinstein, there’s hardly any difference between Clinton and Trump voters:
Among Clinton voters 74 percent find the allegations credible compared to 66 percent of Trump voters. See what I mean about rank-and-file Democrats not being invested in Big Harv? When you ask the same people how credible they find last year’s harassment/assault allegations against *Donald Trump*, though, errrrrrr…
Among Clinton voters 83 percent find the allegations credible. Among Trump voters eight percent do. The partisan gap on Weinstein is eight points. On Trump it’s 75. An obvious explanation: Contra Dems, who don’t care what happens to Weinstein, Republicans are invested politically in Trump as much as they could possibly be. Conceding that the charges against him might be credible would be a step towards his impeachment and removal from office at worst and a nightmarish political scandal that could wreck the GOP agenda at best. Republicans are skeptical of the Trump allegations because they have to be. Weinstein is also facing many more accusers than Trump is; to the extent that the credibility of any one accuser’s claims depends on the sheer volume of similar claims made by other women, there’s a reason apart from politics to find the allegations against Weinstein more credible than the ones against Trump. Still: A 75-point partisan gap? Sheesh.