Mar 10, 2019

The most popular companies in America, ranked by partisan leaning

The red-blue divide has a big impact on Americans' views of companies, with only two — Wegmans and Publix Supermarkets — appearing on the top 10 list of favorite companies for both Democrats and Republicans, according to an Axios-Harris Poll survey of corporate reputations.

Data: The Axios Harris Poll 100; Chart: Chris Canipe, Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Data: The Axios Harris Poll 100; Chart: Chris Canipe, Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The big picture: People's political views lead them in different directions. Democrats favor the Kraft Heinz Company, while Republicans like Chick-fil-A. But they agree more on the companies they hate — because bad performance affects everyone.

The main takeaways from the Axios-Harris Poll 100:

  • The big tech companies do better with Democrats than Republicans, at a time when they've been accused of being biased against conservatives. Even the low-ranked Twitter was slightly more popular among Democrats.
  • The most polarized companies were the Trump Organization — which scored highly with Republicans and dead last among Democrats — and Target, which did better among Democrats than Republicans.
  • When you include independents, Wegmans was the only company that made all three top 10 lists.
  • Independents' favorite company was Amazon.
  • The least favorite companies had privacy scandals (Facebook), other scandals (Wells Fargo), are going bankrupt (Sears), or cut off their customers' HBO (Dish).

Between the lines: Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said it wasn't obvious why Kraft Heinz did so well with Democrats, since they don't have a clear political leaning. (Chick-fil-A has a more defined political identity since its founder opposed same-sex marriage, though it has been trying to play down politics to broaden its appeal.)

  • But Gerzema noted that Democrats gave Kraft Heinz a better rating on growth potential than Republicans, suggesting that Republicans may just think the company isn't likely to grow.

The companies that Democrats, Republicans and independents all hate:

  • Facebook
  • Philip Morris
  • Dish
  • Sears
  • Wells Fargo
  • The U.S. government

The bottom-ranked companies for each group:

  • Democrats: The Trump Organization
  • Republicans: Dish
  • Independents: The U.S. government

Methodology: The Axios Harris Poll 100 survey was conducted November through January in a nationally representative sample. One group, 6,118 U.S. adults, was asked to identify the two companies they believe have the best and worst reputations. Then, the 100 “most visible companies” were ranked by a second group of 18,228 adults across key measures of corporate reputation.

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