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The Short Answer
Do Americans Like or Dislike 'Big Business'?
The Short Answer

Do Americans Like or Dislike 'Big Business'?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are closely split in their reactions to the term "big business," with 52% saying they have a positive view of it and 48% a negative view. Attitudes about big business have been fairly steady over the past decade, except in 2012 when a larger majority, 58%, viewed it positively.

Line graph. Percentages of Americans rating big business positively versus negatively from 2010 to 2019.

The latest ratings of big business are fairly uniform across most subgroups of Americans, including gender, race and household income -- but there are a few notable differences:

  • A majority of adults aged 18 to 29 have a negative opinion of big business, while at least slight majorities of all older age groups view it positively.

  • Adults with no college education are more positive about big business than are those with some college or higher education levels.

  • Views of big business vary strongly by political party and ideology, with about three-quarters of Republicans and conservatives viewing it positively while about two-thirds of Democrats and liberals view it negatively.

Americans' Overall View of Big Business, by Subgroup
Positive Negative
% %
U.S. adults 52 48
Men 55 45
Women 49 51
Whites 51 48
Nonwhites 53 46
18-29 44 56
30-49 51 49
50-64 56 43
65+ 55 43
Postgraduate 46 53
College graduate only 50 50
Some college 48 52
No college 58 42
Household income
$100,000+ 51 48
$40,000-<$100,000 51 49
<$40,000 52 47
Party ID
Republicans 78 22
Independents 48 51
Democrats 36 64
Conservatives 71 29
Moderates 47 52
Liberals 30 69
Gallup, Oct. 1-13, 2019

In contrast with Americans' mixed views of big business, nearly all (97%) have a positive view of "small business." And more than nine in 10 Americans have consistently viewed small business positively since Gallup first asked about it in 2010.

Gallup also asks Americans about their confidence in big business as part of its annual "Confidence in Institutions" update. In the latest measure, from June 2019, 23% said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in big business, 41% said they have "some," 32% have "very little" and 2% "none."

For more on this topic, read Gallup's in-depth report on what Americans think of socialism and government power and how U.S. generational groups differ in their views of capitalism, socialism and various other economic systems.

Gallup's full trend on big business is available on the Big Business "Topics A to Z" page.

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