May 26, 2022 - Economy

The brands that transcend politics

Most reputable companies, by party
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New data shows sentiment among consumers about certain companies can vary drastically depending on their political affiliation, but there are some brands that are able to cut through the partisan divide, according to this year's Axios Harris Poll 100.

Why it matters: Grocery brands like Trader Joe's, Wegmans and H-E-B are some of the most reputable companies in America across the political spectrum, in large part because they have focused on serving local communities and have avoided taking very public political positions.

  • The Axios Harris Poll 100 is an annual survey to gauge the reputations of the most visible brands in the country.

Details: Auto companies also poll well across the board, Axios' Joann Muller reports.

  • The return to work and travel while COVID cases are still surging has made driving a more reliable option than public transportation for many.
  • Tech companies that focus on producing hardware, like IBM, Dell and Apple, also rank highly among both parties, while social media firms are largely distrusted by both.

Between the lines: Republicans favor some brands that espouse conservative values or whose leaders are explicitly Republican or pro-Trump.

  • Firms like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby rank in the top five most reputable companies among Republicans, while companies like My Pillow and Home Depot rank in the top 10.
  • Democrats used to be more likely than Republicans to favor "green companies," but this year's data shows that green companies, including Patagonia and auto companies that are investing in electric vehicles, are ranked highly across the aisle.

What to watch: Often, the party identification of a company's leader can dramatically sway its perception.

  • Last year, Tesla ranked in the top 10 most reputable companies for Democrats. This year, it has fallen to 47th out of 100 among Democrats but ranks 4th among Republicans.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said he would vote Republican after aligning with conservatives on free speech issues around Big Tech for months.

Go deeper: A divided nation flocks to partisan brands

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