WASHINGTON — Most Americans say sexual misconduct is a major problem and that too little is being done to protect victims, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. But some – particularly Republican men – are concerned about the rights of the accused.

The sheer speed with which an accusation of sexual misconduct can sink a career rattles some men, and not just Republicans. Bart Cassida, a 40-year-old Democrat from Indiana, said he tends to believe the accusers. But he’s concerned about employers “immediately dismissing people without proper investigation.”

“People think that men don’t mind being that kind of guy,” someone physically assertive with women, said Dan Lee, 65, a Palm Springs, California, Democrat and retired computer scientist. “I think that’s wrong … men are concerned with their reputations.”

The poll shows that nearly 6 in 10 Americans think there is too little protection for the rights of people who have been victims of workplace sexual misconduct. By contrast, just 37 percent think there’s too little protection for people accused of sexual misconduct, 35 percent think there’s the right amount and 26 percent think there’s too much.

Majorities of women of all political persuasions, as well as male Democrats and independents, think too little is done to protect victims, but only about a third of male Republicans think the same. Among Republican men, by contrast, 52 percent think there are too few protections for the accused. Just 33 percent of Democratic men and 39 percent of Republican women think that’s the case.

Just what is an unwelcome sexual advance, and whether there should be life-altering consequences for what some might see as just a dumb remark, have ignited ferocious exchanges across the American society.