Editor's Note: This article was revised on July 27, 2022, with Gallup's latest data pertaining to Americans' views of big business.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After a decade when Americans' overall views of big business tilted positive or were about evenly split, the slight majority (53%) now view this business category negatively and 46% positively.
Positive views of big business were down sharply in 2021 among Republicans and conservatives compared with the prior reading, from 2019. Nevertheless, these right-leaning groups remain the friendliest toward big business, with their positive ratings of it exceeding those of Democrats and independents, as well as liberals and moderates.
Big business' image has also worsened among older Americans, adults in middle-income households and college graduates with no more than an undergraduate degree. As a result, the age differences evident in 2019, when older Americans were more positive than young adults toward business, have disappeared. Meanwhile, differences by income and education have expanded, with business now viewed more positively by non-college-educated and low-income Americans than by their counterparts.
In contrast with their so-so rating of big business, nearly all adults (97%) have a positive view of "small business."
Gallup also asks Americans about big business as part of its annual "Confidence in Institutions" survey. The recent trend shows a similar decline in the image of big business, with most of that driven by waning confidence from Republicans.
Overall, the percentage of adults having "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in big business has dipped from 23% in 2019 and 19% in 2020 to 14% in 2022.
The combined 57% of Americans currently expressing at least "some" confidence in big business suggests a slightly better public opinion environment for it than the 46% viewing big business positively. Still, neither measure provides much comfort for corporate America that Americans are solidly behind it.
Gallup's full trend on big business is available on the Big Business "Topics A to Z" page.