A new poll by Morning Consult shows many Americans agree with some of Vice President Mike Pence's "philosophy" about how to relate with the opposite sex while at work, especially in social settings.
A small battle in the culture wars opened up earlier this year when Pence's desire to not be in a place that's serving alcohol without his wife and his refusal to be alone with a woman with no one else present surfaced.
A majority of women polled said it's inappropriate to have a drink (60 percent) or have dinner (53 percent) with a coworker of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. The response from men was not far behind, with 48 percent saying a drink alone with a woman coworker was inappropriate, and 45 percent saying the same thing about dinner alone with a woman coworker.
When the issue surfaced around Pence, the issue quickly boiled down to pay equality between the genders, with many saying that such an unwritten policy restricted professional women's networking ability, which ultimately hurt their career opportunities, and thus, their pay.
But the issue also opened yet another window into the increasing divide between Americans.
"Many on the right quickly interpreted the tweet as the media somehow being shocked — shocked! — that a conservative Christian couple would establish such boundaries. Yet again, it seemed, here was the East Coast liberal media just not understanding the values of middle America," political reporter Aaron Blake wrote in the Washington Post.
"On the left, meanwhile, the Pences' arrangement was one that reeked of sexism and a bygone era — an impractical code in the modern age of men and women working alongside one another. And how could the vice president of the United States not be trusted to dine alone or attend parties with women without it venturing into unholy territory?"
The opinion pages of this publication noted Pence's policy didn't seem to be hindering the career ambitions of the numerous female staffers that had worked with him as governor of Indiana, and now at the vice president's office.
A wide majority of both men and women felt that having a work meeting with someone of the opposite sex was appropriate, with 63 percent of women saying so, and 66 percent of men agreeing.