Poll: Voters want Trump to do more to address violence against women

Greg Nash

A large majority of polled voters say President Trump needs to do more to address violence against women and there is widespread support for Congress to pass tougher laws on domestic violence, according to a new poll.

The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris survey finds that 68 percent of respondents believe that Trump needs to do and say more about violence against women. Sixty percent of voters say Congress should pass new legislation addressing violence against women.

Those findings come as “Me Too” movement has helped spur a growing public awareness about the treatment of women in the workplace.


A number of high-profile men in politics, journalism, business and entertainment have resigned or been forced out of leadership positions over accusations that they groped or mistreated women.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris survey found that 55 percent of polled voters have a favorable view of the “Me Too” movement.

Meanwhile, the survey found that Trump polls dismally among women — and young women in particular.

“Trump does poorly with women in their 20s and needs to do a lot more on domestic violence to be credible to this group and on the issue,” said Harvard CAPS-Harris co-director Mark Penn.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said there is inadequate due process when it comes to dealing with allegations of sexual harassment.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations by a number of women who have accused him of forced or unwanted kissing or touching. He has also defended other men accused of wrongdoing, saying they’ve been judged too quickly.

Some people have warned about a “moral panic,” saying that the accused are being chased from their jobs or public life without being given a chance to defend themselves.

Seventy-seven percent of those polled said those accused of sexual harassment should get the same legal protections as those accused of other crimes.

“Trump has support for demanding due process but people also want these laws tightened further,” Penn said.

The White House has been dealing with a scandal over former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned earlier this month after it was revealed that his two ex-wives had accused him of battery.

Chief of staff John Kelly initially defended Porter, leading to a chorus of demands that Kelly step aside. It’s unclear how long Kelly knew about the allegations, but the FBI had notified the White House about the testimony from his ex-wives as part of its background check into Porter.

The poll found that 37 percent of voters believe Kelly mishandled the controversy, against 22 percent who said he acted appropriately. Forty-one percent said they didn’t know enough about the scandal to comment.

Public opinion on Kelly is split, with 50 percent saying he should keep his job and 50 percent saying Trump should replace him.

“The Porter controversy is likely to blow over, with it having damaged Kelly somewhat but not knocking him out,” said Penn.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris online survey of 1,934 registered voters was conducted from Feb. 16-19. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 4 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll throughout 2018.

The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Donald Trump Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll John Kelly MeToo Violence against women
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