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Voters Rate Bill Clinton's Behavior Toward Women Worse Than Trump's

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton jumped on the release last week of an 11-year-old video in which Donald Trump makes graphic sexual comments to say it shows her Republican rival's demeaning attitude toward women. But Trump countered that Clinton was an enabler who allowed her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to sexually assault women for years. Voters tend to agree with Trump that Bill Clinton's behavior was worse, but not surprisingly there's a sharp partisan difference of opinion.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters say allegations by women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton are worse than Trump’s graphic sexual comments about women. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say Trump’s comments are worse, but nearly as many (26%) think the behavior of the two men is about the same. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A closer look at the numbers shows that 69% of Republicans and unaffiliated voters by a 49% to 21% margin consider Clinton’s behavior worse than Trump’s, but only 15% of Democrats agree. Forty-six percent (46%) of Democrats say Trump’s comments are worse, although 35% of voters in the Clintons' party rate the two as about the same.

While 89% of Trump supporters believe the allegations against Clinton are worse, 61% of voters supporting the former first lady say Trump’s comments are worse. One-in-three Clinton voters (32%) rate them both about the same.

This survey was taken prior to the release this morning by the New York Times of new allegations of sexual harassment against Trump. The GOP nominee has denied the charges and has demanded that that the newspaper apologize for what he calls "a libelous article."

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 10-11, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The full results from Sunday night’s debate are in, and Trump has come from behind to take the lead over Clinton in Rasmussen Reports' latest White House Watch survey.

Women by a 41% to 30% margin tend to think the accusations against the former president are worse than Trump’s comments about women. The gap is slightly larger among men (46% to 26%). However, 26% of both women and men say the two are about the same.

While pluralities of voters of all ages agree that the allegations against Clinton are worse, voters under 40 are nearly as likely to say the two are about the same in their minds.

Looking back on the sex scandal that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment nearly 20 years ago, 69% of all voters now believe 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky’s relationship with the 49-year-old president was a consensual one between two adults. Just 22% believe the former White House intern was the victim of an older, more powerful man.

In July, 50% had a favorable view of Bill Clinton, but nearly as many (48%) viewed him unfavorably.  Just 41% believed Clinton will help his wife’s run for the presidency.

Several prominent Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, the party’s presidential nominee in 2008, have distanced themselves from Trump since the airing of the video. Most Republican voters still think top GOP leaders are hurting the party with their continuing criticism of Trump and are only slightly more convinced that those leaders want Trump to be president.

Voters continue to strongly believe that the media is more interested in controversy than in the issues when it comes to the presidential race. As in previous presidential election cycles, voters expect reporters covering political campaigns to help their favorite candidates and think it's far more likely they will help Clinton than Trump.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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