The #MeToo movement may be having the opposite of its intended effect.
The results of a recent poll show that one year after the beginning of the campaign, public opinion is rising against those speaking out about the sexual abuse they've experienced.
The poll, which was conducted on 1,500 people in late 2017 and again in October, revealed a growing minority of people, both men and women, who agree with the ideas that false accusations are a bigger problem than unreported assaults, women who make sexual harassment complaints cause more problems than they solve, and men who sexually harassed women 20 years ago should not lose their jobs.
The Economist commissioned YouGov to conduct the two polls, one shortly after actress Alyssa Milano sent the #MeToo hashtag viral and then another following the conclusion of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, which proved to be a contentious time pitting groups that believe survivors unconditionally and the legal precedent of innocent until proven guilty.
Both respondents who voted for Hillary Clinton and for President Trump in 2016 increasingly agreed with the negative statements related to #MeToo, although Trump voters overwhelmingly believe that men should not lose their jobs for complaints more than two decades old — the only question where more than half of respondents agreed with the statement. On that question, Clinton voters were the only demographic of respondents who agreed with that sentiment less than in 2017.
Across all polled adults in 2018, 36 percent believe men should keep their jobs against 20-year-old complaints, up from 28 percent in 2017. There was a two-point growth in respondents who agreed that women who complain of sexual harassment cause more problems than are solved, from 31 to 29 percent. And the 2018 poll saw a 5 percentage point increase in those who agree that false accusations are a bigger problem than unreported attacks, from 13 to 18 percent.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center cites research stating that false reporting only makes up between 2 percent to 10 percent of all reports of sexual assault, while 63 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.