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Most Americans don't support politicians punishing firms for their views, Reuters/Ipsos poll finds

The poll also showed a nation deeply divided on how schools teach about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 24, 2022.John Raoux / AP file
/ Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan majority of U.S. voters oppose politicians punishing companies over their stances on social issues, a cold reception for campaigns like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ against Walt Disney Co., a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

The two-day poll completed on Thursday showed that 62 percent of Americans — including 68 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans — said they were less likely to back a candidate who supports going after companies for their views.

DeSantis signed a bill last week that strips Disney of self-governing authority at its Orlando-area parks in retaliation for its opposition to a new Florida law that limits the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools.

For DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party, it was an attempt to bolster his conservative credentials as a culture warrior ahead of a possible run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

But even when prompted along the lines of DeSantis’ own argument for his action — that laws should remove benefits of government tax breaks from corporations that push a “woke” agenda — 36 percent of Republicans nationally said they would be less likely to support a candidate with such a view.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll still showed that DeSantis, 43, is a potential force in national Republican politics.

Presented with a list of prominent politicians, a full 25 percent of Republican respondents said DeSantis best represents the values of their party, second only to former President Donald Trump who was favored by 40 percent of Republicans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott garnered 9 percent.

But the poll also showed a nation deeply divided on how schools teach about sexual orientation and gender identity — the subject of the controversial Florida law.

Half of U.S. voters support laws banning classroom discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity for children age 5-11, including 69 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English and throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,003 adults and had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points.