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Americans divided in new poll on whether businesses should take political, social stances

The country is split on whether businesses should take public political and social stances, according to a new Gallup poll. 

The poll released Tuesday found 48 percent of U.S. adults said businesses should publicly state their views, while 52 percent said they shouldn’t. Pollsters found notable differences in their views based on the demographics of the respondents. 

Younger adults were more likely to say companies should take public stances, with 59 percent of those ages 18 to 29 and 51 percent of those 30 to 44 saying so. Just more than 40 percent of those 45 to 59 and 60 and older said the same. 

This difference is in line with Gallup’s finding that 18-to-29-year-olds are most likely to say businesses having a positive social and cultural impact are extremely important to them. 

Pollsters also found a significant difference in respondents’ answers based on party. Three-quarters of Democrats said businesses should take public stances, while 40 percent of independents and less than 20 percent of Republicans agreed. 

Asian and Black adults are also much more likely than Hispanic and white adults to support businesses sharing political or social views. More than 70 percent of the former two groups said companies should take stances, but less than half of the latter two said so. 

Women are slightly more likely to support businesses taking a public stance, with 52 percent of women and 43 percent of men backing it. 

Gallup said in its analysis of the poll that companies have struggled in recent years to determine whether they should address social and cultural issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and reproductive rights. 

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It said some employees have wanted their companies to issue statements to describe their values on the issue, but others have worried it could hurt their brand with consumers and current and future employees. 

“One thing is clear — this debate will continue to challenge employers as Americans become increasingly polarized on cultural and social issues, with many expecting their employers to weigh in on these topics,” it said. 

The poll was conducted among 5,757 U.S. adults from June 8-19, 2022. The margin of error is 1.9 percentage points.

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