Survey: Most political consultants say harassment common in campaign industry

Survey: Most political consultants say harassment common in campaign industry
© Hill illustration/Garrett Evans

A majority of U.S. political consultants believe that sexual harassment is at least somewhat common in campaign industry, while nearly half of female consultants say that they have experienced harassment themselves, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Campaign and Elections magazine's inaugural State of the Campaign Industry Survey found that 59 percent of political consultants see sexual harassment as common in the campaign world. Forty-four percent said that have encountered it themselves.

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What’s more, 46 percent of female consultants surveyed said that they have been victims of some form of harassment while working in the industry.

The survey results suggest that more than a year after the advent of the “Me Too” movement that saw harassment and misconduct allegations emerge against powerful men in business, politics and other industries, such conduct lives on in campaign politics.

But according to the survey, only 44 percent of respondents said that they believe the campaign industry has an issue with sexism and harassment. Only 26 percent said that they think harassment is more common in political consulting than in other fields.

The survey also revealed key differences in how Republican and Democratic political professionals see the campaign industry in light of the “Me Too” movement.

Sixty-two percent of Democratic consultants surveyed either completely or mostly agreed with the notion that the industry has a “Me Too” problem, while 24 percent said they “don’t know.”

Conversely, 46 percent of Republicans completely or mostly disagreed with that perception. Another 29 percent said they “don’t know.”

Among female consultants, 54 percent said the campaign industry is a “hostile” work environment for women. Among men, that number was just 30 percent.

Likewise, nearly half of women consultants – 48 percent – said that they were denied a job “they were otherwise qualified for,” because of their sex or race, according to the C&E survey.

The State of the Campaign Industry Survey was conducted by PSB Research from Jan. 10 to Feb. 2. It is based on online interviews with 408 professional political consultants and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.85 percentage points.