- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2022

Nearly 9 in 10 American voters want corporations to stay out of politics, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey by the Trafalgar Group found that 87.1% of likely voters from all political affiliations said they were either very or somewhat likely “to stop using a product or service of a company that openly advocates for a political agenda” that contradicts their beliefs. The remaining 12.8% said they were either not likely or not very likely to do so.

Pollster Robert Cahaly, who founded Trafalgar in 2016, said the poll suggests that the era of companies endorsing left-wing politics to appeal to younger Americans “might be coming to a close.”

He cited as an example Netflix’s recent internal memo that told left-wing employees to quit if they are offended by the streaming giant’s choice to feature a “diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values.”

“People have a lot more to worry about right now than wokeness,” Mr. Cahaly told The Washington Times. “Wokeness is a luxury that a society can worry about when everything is going well, not when the prices of gas and everything else is rising.”

Trafalgar’s poll found substantial agreement among Republicans, Democrats and independents.

While 93.4% of Republican voters said they are likely to boycott a company that takes stances against their values, 84.5% of Democrats and 82.6% of independents said the same.

The poll echoes recent data suggesting Americans have tired in recent years of corporations weighing in on culture-war issues.

In an April 2021 Hill-HarrisX poll, 61% of registered voters found it inappropriate for corporations to engage in “political speech,” compared to 39% who said it’s appropriate.

Trafalgar’s survey comes as Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek has more recently waged a campaign against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in March.

After Disney vowed to lobby against the law’s ban on age-inappropriate gender identity and sexuality discussions in K-3 public school classrooms, Mr. DeSantis stripped the company of tax breaks for its theme park operations in Orlando.

Samuel Gregg, research director at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, an ecumenical Christian think tank, said most Americans don’t want to have to worry about the companies they patronize using their money to make political statements.

“Corporate America needs to understand that no matter how much it tries to placate woke activists, a policy of appeasement betrays a serious lack of vision on the part of business leaders,” Mr. Gregg said in an email.

“Woke ideologues have no difficulty in recognizing appeasement for what it is, and will consequently push for more,” he added.

Mirroring likely voter turnout demographics, 39.3% of respondents in Monday’s Trafalgar poll identified as Democrats, 35.6% as Republicans and 25.1% as independents. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.99% at the 95% confidence level.

According to Trafalgar, the survey of 1,080 likely general election voters was conducted April 24-27. The poll was conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Convention of States Action, which advocates for returning federal powers to the states.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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