But when it comes to the political reaction to sexual harassment, gender identity matters less and gender attitudes matter more. “A sizable minority of American women,” note Huddy and Willmann, “do not believe in the existence of gender discrimination, think that women who charge men with gender discrimination are trouble makers, and are inclined to side with a man accused of discriminatory behavior.” And Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy seems to have made these women more staunchly Republican.
Which helps explain why female Republicans express far less support for feminism than even male Democrats. Earlier this month, the research firm PerryUndem found that Democratic men were 25 points more likely than Republican women to say sexism remains a “big” or “somewhat” big problem. According to October polling data sorted for me by the Pew Research Center, Democratic men were 31 points more likely than Republican women to say the “country has not gone far enough on women’s rights.” In both surveys, the gender gap within parties was small: Republican women and Republican men answered roughly the same way as did Democratic women and Democratic men. But the gap between parties—between both Democratic men and women and Republican men and women—was large.