BOSTON (CBS) – It started during the presidential election last year when both Donald Trump’s and Bill Clinton’s behavior towards women became a campaign issue.
It boiled over this year with a stream of outings of high-profile men in media, entertainment, politics, the restaurant business and more. And now a new national poll by USA Today and Suffolk University shows disgust over sexual misconduct may be the most unifying issue in America.
In a backlash that clearly played a role in the upset defeat of accused child molester Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, 74-percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate credibly accused of misconduct, even if that candidate reflected their personal political views.
Three-quarters of the poll respondents said sexual harassment in the workplace is a major problem that demands serious attention. Those results pretty much cut across party and gender lines.
Appallingly, one in three women said they’ve been subjected to sexual harassment, but a majority said they didn’t report it, and of the ones who did, 48-percent said the alleged perp was not held accountable.
And while 36-percent of women think nothing will change, 53-percent said this a turning point. Men were less certain of that, but the numbers weren’t far apart.
So, where do we go from here?
History shows us that cultural progress can come painfully slowly, and the push for a harassment-free society has many political, legal and sociological hurdles to overcome.
But these numbers so suggest one encouraging thing – there’s no turning back.