Companies are increasingly wading into political or social issues, but Americans are less in support of it.
Target, Bud Light, and Disney have all faced backlash over their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks are paying travel costs for employees seeking abortions in states where it is now illegal. Levi Strauss backed gun control efforts.
Less than half of U.S. adults (41%) say businesses should take a public stance on current events, down from 48% in 2022, according to a Gallup Panel survey.
There is a political divide when it comes to the issue of mixing business and politics. Most Democrats (62%) say businesses should take a public stance on current events, compared with just 17% of Republicans and 36% of independents.
Although most Democrats want businesses speaking out, the share is down from 75% in 2022. Among independents the number has dropped 4 points, and among Republicans it is essentially unchanged.
Americans who identify as Black or Hispanic are far more likely than white Americans to say businesses should take a public stance on issues, with 48% of Hispanic and 61% of Black Americans saying they want this compared with 35% of white Americans.
However, the percentage of Black Americans who are in favor of companies speaking out has declined from 72% in 2022.
Percentages have been more consistent among Hispanic and white Americans, whose support on this issue has declined by 1 and 6 percentage points, respectively, since 2022.
Younger adults are more likely than older age groups to favor companies taking a public stance on current events. About half of adults aged 18 to 29 (53%) say businesses should do this, compared with 47% of those aged 30 to 44 and 35% of those aged 45 and older. The percentage among those aged 60 and older who say businesses should take a public stance has declined by 8 points since 2022.
When asked separately whether businesses should take a stance on each of 12 specific policy areas, majorities of Americans said businesses should speak out on climate change (55%) and mental health (52%). Close to half also favor companies being vocal about free speech (49%), healthcare (49%), and racial issues (45%).
Americans are least likely to say businesses should take a public stance on political candidates and religion (19% and 15%, respectively). More also disagree than agree that businesses should speak out on gun laws, LGBTQ+ issues, immigration policy, international conflicts, and abortion.
The latest findings from the Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report are based on a web survey with 5,458 U.S. adults conducted May 8-15, using the probability-based Gallup Panel.
Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com.
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