POLITICS

Think The Trump Video Changed A Lot Of Minds? Maybe Not.

Voters who thought Donald Trump respected women mostly still do.
Not even boasting about sexual assault could sway his core supporters.
Not even boasting about sexual assault could sway his core supporters.

Even before the release of a video that showed Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault, most voters didn’t think he respected women. But Friday’s revelation had only a modest effect on the minds of those who did, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey.

Thirty-two percent of registered voters now think Trump respects women, identical to the percentage who said so in a poll taken days before the video’s release. The share who say he does not respect women rose from 54 percent to 59 percent, as some people left the “not sure” camp. 

The percentage of voters who say that a Trump presidency would be bad for women ― 46 percent ― is also up only slightly from the 42 percent who said so prior to Friday afternoon.

The lack of change shows how deeply opinions can harden along partisan lines, with voters willing to rationalize away criticism of the candidate they support.

While just 48 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said in April that Trump respected women, that number rose to 60 percent once he became their party’s nominee ― and it’s stayed there. In the post-video survey, 60 percent still say that Trump respects women. A quarter say that he does not, up from 20 percent in the previous poll.

Trump’s political opponents, conversely, remain near-unanimous in condemning him. Ninety-one percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say that Trump does not respect women, compared to 87 percent in the previous survey.

The biggest change was among the small slice of independent voters who don’t lean toward either party. More than 60 percent of them now say Trump does not respect women.

Surveys released so far this week have found varying results on how much the controversy has affected Americans’ opinions of Trump. The HuffPost/YouGov survey differs significantly from a poll by NBC and SurveyMonkey, which found the percentage of likely voters who think Trump doesn’t respect women at all jumping from 39 percent to 46 percent in the aftermath of the video’s release.

One potential reason for the discrepancy: While the HuffPost/YouGov poll laid out a binary set of options ― Trump does or does not respect women ― the NBC/SurveyMonkey offered a more gradual scale, asking people whether Trump respects women “a lot,” “some,” “not much” or “not at all.”

Another poll from NBC and The Wall Street Journal, which showed Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump growing into the double digits, found that 41 percent of voters believe what Trump said on the video was “completely unacceptable because it crosses a boundary into describing kissing and touching women in a sexual way without their consent.” Thirty-one percent said it was “inappropriate, but typical of how some men talk in private with other men.” Another 8 percent said they didn’t agree with either of those statements, while 20 percent said they hadn’t heard enough about the video or weren’t sure.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Oct. 8-10 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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