Disney’s public image with the American public has cratered over the last year, according to an NBC News poll. The survey comes after the entertainment giant has been embroiled in a political fight with the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis due to the signing of the Parental Rights on Education bill (derisively known by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) and the elimination of Disney’s special tax status in Florida.
According to the survey, only 33% of Americans have either a positive or very positive image of the Walt Disney Corporation, 30% have a neutral view, and another 30% have either a negative or very negative view of the company. Although this poll shows Disney has an overall positive public image, it is a very narrow one and highlights the fragile public standing the corporation has with the American public.
Disney’s fragile position with the American public opinion is even worse when compared with a similar poll conducted last year by the Public Opinion Strategies firm for the Daily Wire, which found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (77%) had a favorable view of Disney. In comparison, only 21% had an unfavorable view. While both polls were not conducted by the same firm and are one year apart, if the POS survey is anywhere reliable, then Disney has suffered a fall of more than 40% on its positive image in just one year.
The fall in Disney’s popularity also comes after the multi-billion dollar corporation was criticized over its decision to film the live-action adaptation of Mulan was filmed in Xinjiang, the region where the Chinese Communist Party has been accused by the U.S. government of committing genocide against the Uyghur population.
Disney’s public image has fallen to the level of politicians.
While many media outlets have reported the NBC poll as clear evidence of the company of Mickey Mouse defeating Ron DeSantis in the field of public opinion. In reality, the survey only shows that, if anything, both Disney and DeSantis are effectively tied in the national fight for popularity.
According to the NBC poll, the Walt Disney Company, an entertainment giant that has been a staple of American culture for decades, has a net approval rating of +3%. Meanwhile, DeSantis has a +2% approval rating, well within the margin of error of 3.49% of the poll.
The only silver lining that executives at Disney’s HQ can find from the NBC survey is that the company is far more popular than a plethora of political figures and institutions. If Disney is holding a positive favorability rating, then President Biden’s, VP Harris’, the Democratic Party’s, and the GOP’s numbers are extremely negative.
The survey shows that the Democratic Party is the institution with the most negative net-favorability ratings at -19%, followed by VP Kamala Harris (-17%), former President Donald Trump (-15%) President Biden (-14%), and the Republican Party (-11%).
However, this silver lining is not much help as corporations do not play in the same field as politicians, who can afford to be unpopular and polarizing as long as they can garner enough votes during their elections. Corporations, especially ones recognized and iconic as Disney, have fewer benefits of becoming controversial or polarizing figures with the public.
The debate over billion-dollar corporations’ position on divisive social issues will surely remain a divisive one in both the corporate and political environments of America. As CEOs and corporate boards make up their decisions, Disney’s public image crisis will surely be a factor to consider.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.