Americans who identify themselves as Democrats are far more likely than the rest of the population to say companies should take stands on contentious social and political issues.
Some 75% of Democrats believe that businesses should generally “take a public stance on current events,” according to a poll from Gallup, even as only 40% of independents and 18% of Republicans say the same. The survey also found that 52% of women agree companies should take public stands on political and social issues against only 43% of men.
“Many companies have struggled to determine if, and how, they should address significant social and cultural issues,” Gallup remarked, noting events such as the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the death of George Floyd. “While some employers have made such statements internally and publicly, others have worried that taking public positions on issues of cultural relevance could negatively impact their brand with customers and with current and future employees. Others have posited that such statements are inconsistent with their role as a business.”
Roughly 52% of the overall population, a slim majority, believes companies should refrain from taking political stands. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 were more likely than their older counterparts to support companies’ decisions to make public statements on social issues.
The survey comes after national controversy and poor performance has greeted a number of businesses that made public stances on contentious cultural matters. Disney has experienced a loss of trust among some consumers largely due to the iconic company positioning itself against legislation in Florida that prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students between kindergarten and third grade.
Disney CEO Bob Iger told employees that he regretted the company’s decision to oppose the parental rights legislation, citing the “delicate balance” between storytelling and “listening” to audiences. In an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire, 64% of Americans, including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents, supported the Florida law that Disney publicly opposed.
Victoria’s Secret has been forced to close stores and eliminate managerial positions in recent years as the luxury lingerie company replaced supermodels and runway shows with figures such as left-wing lesbian soccer player Megan Rapinoe and male-to-female transgender Valentina Sampaio. Victoria’s Secret CEO Amy Hauk recently departed the company after spending less than one year in her post.
The environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, also known as ESG, has grown in popularity among Wall Street and Silicon Valley executives. The philosophy argues that businesses have a moral imperative to leverage their power to promote racial diversity, oppose climate change, and achieve other sociocultural objectives deemed desirable by management. Critics say the movement causes companies to shift focus away from the maximization of returns and toward activism that is often harmful to companies’ bottom lines.
Though there are a considerable number of investors who support executives using financial power to achieve certain social objectives, a clear majority of investors would prefer political neutrality and the sole maximization of profits, according to an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire released earlier this year. A majority also view ESG efforts as predominantly left-of-center.