CAPS - Harris Poll on Sexual Harassment, Tax Bill, and Russia Investigation

December 13, 2017


The December 2017 poll by the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and The Harris Poll looks at public opinion on sexual harassment, tax reform, a possible government shutdown, and the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

The eleventh CAPS – Harris poll, released on Wednesday, December 13, shows that sexual harassment is a major problem in workplaces across the country, with 70% of respondents saying that they have seen or experienced sexual harassment at work.

Over 4 in 10 women experiencing sexual harassment, with a majority of middle-aged women (53%) saying that they have been sexually harassment. Overall, 88% of voters acknowledge that sexual harassment of women is a serious problem.

The sexual harassment issue has also hit the political mainstream: the majority of the public overwhelmingly favors the resignations of Senator Al Franken, Representative John Conyers, and the fall from grace of other public figures. Ninety-one percent of voters believe that Congressional settlements on the issue must be publicly disclosed. And 57% also believe that President Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, released before the 2016 election, indicates that the president engaged in some form of sexual harassment.

President Trump’s approval ratings remain steady at 41% approve and 51% disapprove. As in previous months, a majority of voters continue to approve of President Trump’s performance in creating jobs (52%), fighting terrorism (51%), and the overall management of the economy (50%). The president continues to receive low approval on administering the government (40%) and foreign affairs (40%).

The U.S. economy is seen as surging by voters: a record number of voters say the economy is strong (69% overall, and 75% of men and 63% of women). A plurality (47%) view the economy as being on the right track versus the wrong track (at 39%). However, perceptions of the direction of the country remain negative at 32% right track / 56% wrong track.

Turning to tax reform, a majority of voters - 61% - support tax reform today, and 64% say they want taxes lowered. However, 64% oppose the tax bill recently passed by the Senate. When prompted with the elements of the bill, a majority favor most of its elements, and after a read out of all the major elements of the tax bill 51% favored the tax reform package being put forward by the Republican leadership, indicating that the GOP is struggling to effectively communicate its tax reform push. In fact, 68% of voters say that they have too little information about the tax reform package, and only 21% believe that their taxes will be lowered under the bill.

Lastly, on the ongoing Special Counsel investigation, 75% of voters believe that the counsel is trying to make the case for obstruction of justice against the President, but 60% also believe that President Trump’s “hope you can let it go” comment to former FBI director Comey is not enough to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, and that the President would have had to take specific action for obstruction to be true.

Overall, 76% believe that the Special Counsel was right to prosecute former National Security advisor Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, and 65% believe that it was illegal for Flynn to communicate with Russian officials during the Presidential transition. Fifty-nine percent say that Flynn deserves jail time.

Sixty-three percent of voters also believe that the FBI is resisting providing Congress with information about the Fusion GPS dossier, though they believe that the investigation was triggered by more than just this dossier. However, only 35% believe that the Special Counsel has found any evidence of collusion with Russia. Overall, a majority (54%) say Mueller has a conflict of interest in the investigation due to his friendship with Comey.

For more information on the December poll, go to the CAPS / Harris Poll website for more results, and please visit The Hill ( for first look analysis of all polls.

This release will be updated throughout the week with more information about the poll.


The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll online within the United States between December 8 -11, 2017, among 1,986 registered voters.

The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The poll was supervised by Harvard Professor of Government and CAPS Faculty Director Stephen Ansolabehere, Mark Penn, and Dritan Nesho. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years’ experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science with over 11 years of polling experience.

Harvard Law School Professor Jacob Gerson and Assistant Professor of Government, Jon Rogowski, contributed to this month’s CAPS-Harris Poll, helping frame the sexual harassment and government shutdown questions.

Harris Insights and Analytics conduct the poll based on online methodologies they have been using for more than a decade and the results are donated to the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

The results are represented as the results of the questions asked according to The Harris Poll methodology.