The Effect of the #MeToo Movement on Political Engagement and Ambition in 2018
Conventional wisdom holds that the #MeToo movement increased awareness of sexual harassment and drove sympathizers, particularly women, to increased participation in the 2018 midterm elections. In this paper, we assess whether #MeToo increased awareness of sexual harassment, as well as whether #MeToo increased self-reported interest in various forms of political participation. Using an original dataset from October 2018, we find that although the #MeToo movement increased awareness and concern about sexual harassment and sexual assault, it did not affect interest in political participation among most Americans. We also find that the people most likely to report being aware of and mobilized by the movement were Democrats, those with high levels of political interest, and those who have personally experienced sexual harassment in professional settings. Surprisingly, in most of our models, women were no more likely to report that #MeToo increased their interest in participating than men. The results suggest that the primary effect of #MeToo may have been increasing the salience of sexual harassment and interest in political participation in 2018 among those who possessed the resources to participate and who were ideologically predisposed to support the movement’s goals from the beginning.