A number of major companies are increasingly viewed through a partisan political lens due to stands their leaders have taken on prominent political issues.
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A survey of more than 23,000 consumers by Harris Poll finds a strong correlation between a person’s political beliefs and their opinion of certain corporate brands.
The poll asked respondents to give their opinions on well-known brands. Based on their statements, the poll assigned the companies a “reputation quotient” on a 100-point scale.
Chick-fil-A, whose ties to conservative groups opposed to same-sex marriage sparked a backlash from liberal customers in recent years, is viewed much more positively by Republicans than Democrats, the survey finds. Republicans ranked the chain 17 points higher on average than Democrats.
Hobby Lobby, whose owners successfully sued the Obama administration over a federal mandate that employer-sponsored health insurance provide contraception coverage, similarly scored 17 points higher among Republicans than Democrats.
While retail giant Target has sparked outcry from the left in the past over its anti-union campaigns and its contributions to conservative political causes, its decision last year to put in place gender-neutral bathrooms at its store prompted massive outrage and boycotts from conservatives. Perhaps as a result, Democrats view the company more positively than Republicans, the poll finds.
“Companies that have taken very public stands for their beliefs are rewarded by consumers of similar conservative or liberal views, but there is also clear risk among those who feel otherwise,” says Wendy Salomon, vice president of reputation management and public affairs at The Harris Poll.
In the wake of President Trump’s controversial immigration actions, a number of brands — notably Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Airbnb — took to the airwaves during the Super Bowl to demonstrate support of immigration and multiculturalism, prompting cheers from liberals and dismissals or even calls for boycotts by some conservatives.
The brands that have the best reputations are Amazon, Wegmans, Publix Super Markets, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Disney, Google, UPS, Tesla and 3M.
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The companies with the worst scores are not those that have become embroiled in the high-profile culture wars, but rather they tend to be those that have either been implicated in corruption scandals or accused of shady or exploitative business practices. They are Volkswagon, AIG, Charter, Sears, Bank of America, Halliburton, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Takata.