According to a new poll from Pew, 56 percent of men think sexism is a thing of the past. “Finally,” the women of America told Jezebel during a conference call I made up. “We’re so grateful,” they added, “sexism was such a bummer.” The women were clearly overcome with such relief that they were unable to continue speaking coherently.
Pew’s poll found that while 56 percent of men believe that “the obstacles that once made it harder for women than men to get ahead are now largely gone,” the majority of Americans do not agree with them. Overall, 53 percent of Americans believe that women still face “significant obstacles” on the road to equality. That overall percentage is, unsurprisingly, affected by the gender breakdown of Pew’s questionnaire; women were far more likely to agree that they faced cultural or social obstacles. In fact, 63 percent of women polled said that sexism was still very real.
A further breakdown of the numbers also showed a political divide among respondents. Self-identified Republicans were more likely to believe that sexism—like the Grand Old Party itself—was no longer relevant. Pew reports:
Nearly seven-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (68%) say there are still significant obstacles for women, compared with just 35% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
The gender divide was even starker when party affiliation was considered. Republican women were deeply divided on the issue, 48 percent believe that obstacles still exist, while 50 percent do not:
[Republican women] are more than twice as likely as Republican men (23%) to say there are still significant obstacles facing women today.
A similar, though less pronounced, pattern is evident among Democrats. While about three-quarters of Democratic women say there are still obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead than men, a somewhat smaller majority of Democratic men (60%) say this.
So, the moral of the poll story is that men are more likely to think that sexism is irrelevant. Women, however, are more likely to look at those men and say, “Huh?”
As for conclusions, and applicability to the presidential election, they’re pretty obvious. Hillary Clinton is far more likely to receive support from both men and women who believe that sexism is still present. Donald Trump, however, continues to lag with that 48 percent of Republican women who agree that “significant obstacles” still exist. Trump, also unsurprisingly, draws his highest numbers among voters who think that sexism or gender is no longer a pertinent factor— 67 percent support Trump while on 29 percent align with Clinton.