Americans remain split when it comes to how their feelings about big business. Only slightly more than half (52%) of the more than 1,500 US adults surveyed in late 2019 for a report by Gallup said they have a positive overall view of big business, representing a small increase from 2018 (50%).
In the past decade, public opinion of big business has fluctuated. After splitting equally between positive and negative views in 2010, positive sentiment about big business peaked at 58% in 2012 but slowly tapered off since then until last year’s minor rebound. And as the Edelman’s global survey on trust revealed last year, although business as a whole has experienced a modest increase in trust, some business sectors fare better than others.
In most cases, when broken down by demographics, the gap between positive and negative views of big business remains small. For example, 55% of men have a positive view of business compared to 49% of women and slightly more non-white Americans (53%) think positively about business than white Americans (51%).
Nonetheless, some larger gaps do exist. Only 44% of young adults (18-29 years) think positively about big business, compared to 56% of 50-64-year-olds and 55% of adults 65 years and older.
Education level is also a factor, with only 50% of college graduates and 46% of those respondents with postgraduate degrees holding positive attitudes towards big business, compared to 58% of adults without a college education.
The biggest gap exists between political party identification and ideology. Only 36% of self-identified Democrats say they think positively about big business versus 78% of Republicans. And while just more than 7 in 10 Conservatives have a positive view of big business, only 3 in 10 of respondents who identify as Liberals hold a similar view.
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About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews of 1,526 US adults in October 2019.