Most Americans Want Companies to Stay Out of Hot-Button Social Issues: Poll

A new poll taken after boycotts of Target and Bud Lights shows most Americans want companies to stay out of the political and cultural battles, although there is a significant political divide on the topic, according to a new survey.

The CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that 58 percent of Americans say it is inappropriate for “companies to take public stands on political/social/cultural issues,” while 32 percent say it is appropriate.

A solid majority of Republicans (71 percent) and Independents (61 percent) say it is inappropriate. Among Democrats, though, a plurality, 47 percent, say it is appropriate. A little over 4 in 10 Democrats (43 percent) agree with Republicans and Democrats that it is inappropriate.

Last week, Anheuser-Busch said its earnings had fallen 10.5 percent following a conservative-led boycott of Bud Light over a transgender-themed ad. Target also saw its stock plummet after conservatives boycotted the chain over transgender items directed toward children.

“For the most part, Americans seem less than excited that companies are wading into the political realm,” NBC News said in a poll analysis.

Republicans have more energy behind their boycotts than Democrats, according to the poll. A total of 59 percent of Republicans compared to 44 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Independents say they have boycotted and not purchased products “from a company specifically because the company took a political or social stand” they opposed. Meanwhile, 29 percent of Democrats, 23 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Independents say they have purchased products “from a company specifically because the company took a political or social stand” they supported.

Among all Americans, 47 percent have boycotted companies they oppose, and 24 percent have bought products from companies they support.

In June, businessman Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank said the Target and Bud Light boycotts could have a long-term effect.

“If you start to get too distant or too far away from the primary mandate, the market has proven itself to really, really punish you. And it’s woken up all kinds of boards,” O’Leary added.

The boycotts and backlashes, he said, show the “power” of social media.

The poll was conducted July 12-16.

Photo courtesy: ©Shabaz Usmani/Unsplash

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.