Harris Poll: Half of Americans Say CEOs Have a Bad Reputation
- Americans Seek Trusted, Ethical, Accountable CEOs
- Majority of U.S. Consumers Say If They Were CEO, They Would Avoid Taking a Stand on Political Issues
- Republicans Significantly More Positive about Business Leaders’ Reputations Yet Democrats View Reputations of Media Industry CEOs More Positively than Republicans
Republicans, Millennials Rate CEO Reputations More Positively
The Harris Poll study finds that Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or Independents are to give CEOs a “good” rating, while Millennials (age 18-34) view CEO reputations more positively than older generations.
Majority Says If They Were CEO, They Would Not Take Stand on Political Issues
As CEOs wrestle with taking a public stand for company values in a divided U.S. political climate, the majority (75%) of Americans say if they were CEO of a large company, they would avoid taking a position on political issues.
The additional Harris Poll research, which was conducted among more than 2,000 U.S. adults February 27 – March 1, shows that Americans are divided when it comes to companies mixing business and politics. Half (51%) of consumers expect companies to have a clear position on visible political matters while more than half (59%) say that understanding a company’s position on political issues isn’t that important.
“U.S. consumers are struggling with what to make of our political climate and where Corporate America should fit in,” said Salomon. “Americans’ polarized views of whether or not companies should engage on politically-charged issues makes this uncharted territory; it’s an exceptionally tricky area for CEOs and other business leaders to navigate. We know that companies that have taken very public stands for their beliefs are reputationally rewarded by consumers of similar conservative or liberal views, but there is also clear risk among those who feel otherwise.”
More Positive Ratings for Media Industry CEOs — From Democrats
While generally, conservatives rate most industry leaders higher than liberals, the Harris Poll research shows that Democrats (53%) rate business leaders in the media industry significantly higher than Republicans do (26%).
“When viewing CEO reputation via an industry lens, the media industry is an anomaly, indicating that perhaps the divisive presidential election and the new administration’s proclaimed ‘war on the media’ has had an effect on how Democrats and Republicans respond to and view that sector,” said Salomon. “The media has become a lightning rod, and CEOs must work to inform the public, but also to regainall of the public’s trust in a hyper-partisan environment.”
So much for a CEO as a President of the United States.