Support declines for Corporate America's political involvement
Why it matters: No business wants to become a political football ahead of the 2024 election.
- Corporate affairs leaders — wary of becoming another Disney, Anheuser-Busch or Target — are looking for more perspective when wading into big issues.
What's happening: Companies that advocate or implement policies in favor of abortion access and a pathway to citizenship are more likely to experience backlash than those that focus on environmental and sustainability efforts, according to the survey.
- Last year, 66% of Americans approved of major companies being involved in ending racial discrimination. This year 57% supported those efforts.
- Public backing for corporate engagement around abortion fell from 41% to 36%.
The big picture: Businesses remain one of the most trusted sources for news and information, trailing only friends and family members, according to the report.
- Companies and corporate affairs leaders are looking for ways to carry out their environmental, social and governance priorities without getting stuck in political crosshairs.
- "There's a lot of confidence in businesses and support around what they do," says Laura Horsley, Senior Director at the Public Affairs Council.
- "I think that translates a little bit, and when customers hear information coming from a trusted business, their trust and confidence in the message carries over."
By the numbers: The Public Affairs Council and Morning Consult, which surveyed 2,219 adults, found that Democrats overwhelmingly support business engagement in social and political matters.
- Corporations see the greatest divide when it comes to involvement in abortion access — with 54% of Democrats supporting and 73% of Republicans opposing business engagement.
- Clear division also exists when it comes to expanding voting rights and supporting pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Yes, but: Business leaders and brands might not have to dodge as many cultural landmines as previously expected.
- There is bipartisan support in a few areas too. 75% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans agreed on corporate involvement in environmental issues.
- Majorities from both parties also believe corporations should work to end gender and racial discrimination and support food security.
Methodology: The survey was conducted between Sept. 1-3 using a sample of 2,219 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Go deeper: Read the entire Pulse Survey