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UT/TT Poll: #MeToo Movement Loses Traction as Texans Grow Skeptical

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AUSTIN, Texas — While a majority of Texans agree that women face more discrimination than men do, they are split on whether the #MeToo movement is helping to address the broader issue of gender inequality in the United States, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Sixty percent of Texans polled believed women face a lot or some discrimination, with 55 percent saying that women face more discrimination compared with men. However, while 46 percent think the recent attention paid to the sexual harassment and assault of women in America is helping to address the issue of gender inequality, the number who disagreed increased 6 points since February to reach 42 percent in the most recent poll.

“This set of results shows a clear overall decay in attitudes toward the efficacy and results of the Me Too movement since the beginning of the year,” said James Henson, co-director of the poll and director of the Texas Politics Project as UT Austin. “Even among supporters of the movement, Texans have become more skeptical that this high-profile movement is going to have positive effects for women.”

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court took place in the interim between the two polls. Among Texans polled, 54 percent said they would have voted to confirm Kavanaugh, though 40 percent of respondents viewed him somewhat or very unfavorably.

“Partisanship, not gender, is the driving force behind views of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” said Joshua Blank, manager of polling and research for the Texas Politics Project and a collaborator on the poll. “Republicans came away from the hearing and subsequent confirmation with overwhelmingly favorable attitudes toward the justice, while Democrats expressed the opposite.”

The #MeToo movement received both praise and criticism from Texas voters, with 37 percent viewing it favorably and 38 percent viewing in unfavorably. Overall, respondents were divided on its overall effectiveness, with 41 percent believing it would lead to improvement in the lives of most women — an 11-point decline from February UT/Texas Tribune polling — while 45 percent disagreed.

Half of respondents also expressed the belief that the movement might be leading to the unfair treatment of men. And, when asked how often they thought women falsely accuse men of sexual misconduct, 58 percent said “never” or “occasionally, while 35 percent thought it happened “somewhat” or “very frequently.”

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.

This is the latest in a series of polls conducted by UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results and information about methodology were released initially by The Texas Tribune. More information about the poll can be found at the Texas Politics Project website. Graphics, a summary document, crosstabs and a data file will be publicly available for research and teaching next week at the Texas Politics Project website.