Issues include partisanship, sexual harassment, gender of candidates, healthcare coverage, access to contraception

According to a new survey by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a majority of voters will not support candidates who have been accused of sexual harassment. This constitutes 6 in 10 or 60 percent of Americans. 68 percent of women say they would definitely not vote for candidates accused by multiple people of sexual harassment.” Only 53 percent of women say the same.

Partisan lines also affect attitudes towards candidates accused of sexual harassment. According to PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, “While majorities of men and women both say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate accused of sexual harassment, partisanship trumps gender on this issue. Strong majorities of Democratic men and women, compared to only about 4 in 10 Republican women and fewer than 3 in 10 Republican men, say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate facing multiple accusations of sexual harassment.”

A majority of Americans (60 percent) believe in the benefit of having more female political leaders. However, 70 percent say gender is not influential in voting decisions at all. Women are more inclined to prefer female candidates then men. 22 percent of women would prefer female candidates, as opposed to only 12 percent of men. A greater percentage of Democratic women prefer female candidates as opposed to Republican women (23 percent vs. 14 percent).

What do voters prioritize when it comes to healthcare? Political party affiliation also makes a big difference. Here are the numbers according to PRRI (Democrats vs. Republicans):

  • Rising health care costs (67 percent vs. 48 percent)
  • Protecting health care coverage for pre-existing conditions (65 percent vs. 40 percent)
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace (50 percent vs. 27 percent)
  • Abortion (47 percent vs. 40 percent)
  • The pay gap between men and women (45 percent vs. 14 percent)
  • Access to contraception (43 percent vs. 16 percent)

One thing Americans are united about, regardless of partisanship or religion, is access to contraception and abortion services. According to PRRI, “Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans agree that pharmacists should not be allowed to refuse to provide contraceptives to women with a valid prescription on religious grounds. Only 26 percent of Americans support such restrictions.” 53 percent of white evangelical Protestants, 75 percent of the religiously unaffiliated, 74 percent of white mainline Protestants, 67 percent of black Protestants, and 66 percent of Catholics think pharmacists should not be able to deny a patient contraceptives.

According to PRRI Research Director Dan Cox, “It is simply remarkable to see majorities of Americans united across partisan and religious lines to require pharmacists, regardless of their personal religious beliefs, to fill valid prescriptions for contraceptives. It’s rare enough to find any issue on which a majority of all Americans agree, let alone one around reproductive health where there have been so many political battles.”

Americans also generally agree that health care providers should be able to discuss abortion with their patients. 60 percent of Americans oppose a ban of healthcare providers in engaging in such a discussion. They also “widely agree that access to contraception is critical for the financial security of women (70 percent agree vs. 24 percent disagree).”


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