Americans are divided about whether businesses should take a public stance on political and social issues, with 48% believing they should and 52% saying they should not.
Younger adults are more likely than older adults to believe businesses should take a stance: 59% of those aged 18 to 29 think as much, compared with 51% of those aged 30 to 44, 41% of those aged 45 to 59, and 43% of those aged 60 and older.
This is consistent with younger Americans’ concerns about the impact organizations are making on the world around them. In this same study, Gallup finds U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 are more likely than older age groups to report it is extremely important to them that businesses have a positive social and cultural impact.
Results from the Bentley-Gallup Force for Good Survey are based on more than 5,700 interviews with U.S. adults in June 2022 via the Gallup Panel.
Democrats Most Likely to Believe Companies Should Take Public Stance
Democrats are more likely than Republicans and independents to feel businesses should publicly share their beliefs about social and cultural issues -- 75% of Democrats say they should, compared with 40% of independents and 18% of Republicans.
Asian adults and Black adults are the most likely of all racial/ethnic groups to believe businesses should take a public stance on political and social issues. About three-quarters of each group (74% and 72%, respectively) say businesses should take a public stance, compared with 49% of Hispanic adults and 41% of White adults.
Women (52%) are somewhat more likely than men (43%) to prefer that businesses take a public stance on issues.
Many companies have struggled to determine if, and how, they should address significant social and cultural issues. In the past few years, these have included the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and social injustice following the death of George Floyd, and changing legal rulings on women’s reproductive rights. Many employees have called for their employers to issue internal and external statements describing their values related to these events. And while some employers have made such statements internally and publicly, others have worried that taking public positions on issues of cultural relevance could negatively impact their brand with customers and with current and future employees. Others have posited that such statements are inconsistent with their role as a business.
Americans are divided on this issue, with Democrats, younger adults and racial/ethnic minorities most likely to believe businesses should take a public stand on important issues. 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.
Read more about the findings from the Bentley-Gallup Force for Good Survey.