We ran a new PredictWise/Pollfish Poll on favorability of 11 entities: people, companies, and countries (date: January 14, 2017). All of these entities were singled out, in tweets, by President-elect Donald Trump in the previous few days. We do not know the baseline partisanship of the favorability of the entities prior to Trump’s engagement, but current divides are startling. Massive gaps in favorability exists for people (e.g., Meryl Streep), companies (e.g., NBC), and countries (e.g., Mexico).
We looked at three non-media companies: Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and LLBean. We have highlighted the most recent tweets for all three companies in the hyperlinks; they were all laudatory. Ford and Fiat Chrysler were praised for job announcements in USA and LLBean for a board member donating to Trump’s presidential election. For the two car companies the partisan divide is minimal, with slightly more Trump voters for Ford and slightly more Clinton voters for Fiat Chrysler. The biggest surprise is LLBean, which we assume was somewhat unknown and neutral prior to the tweets: Trump voter are 53 percent favorable to Clinton voters just 38 percent favorable.
Media is a lot more interesting, with Trump going after both NBC and CNN. These two companies try to reflect a neutral position, with CNN famously providing both sides to every story and hiring a bunch of Trump supporting commentators, but Trump hammered them this election cycle as being unfair to him. Clinton voters have 63 and 61 percent favorability for NBC and CNN respectively, but Trump voters are 38 and 25 percent. A plurality of Trump voters are neutral on NBC (35 percent), but a majority, 51 percent, are unfavorable on CNN.
Three different countries, got three different reaction from Trump. Trump has shown strong support for a new alliance with Russia, while fending off accusation of collusion. Trump has wavered between praise and disparagement of Mexico’s immigrants, but insists Mexico will pay for his “Great Wall”. Trump has increased his attacks on China’s trade and military positions since the election. American voters do not favor either Russia or China, but Clinton voters are more neutral on China and Trump voters more neutral on Russia. The difference is 53 percent of Clinton voters view Russia unfavorably (to 42 percent of Trump voters) and 55 percent of Trump votes view China unfavorably (to 40 percent of Clinton voters). 41 percent of Clinton voters have a favorable opinion of Mexico (just 13 unfavorable), while 15 percent of Trump voters have a favorable opinion of Mexico (with 45 percent unfavorable).
Meryl Streep is the most polarizing entity we polled: 77 percent of Clinton voters have a favorable opinion of her (just 3 percent unfavorable), but just 29 percent of Trump voters have a favorable opinion of her (with 47 percent unfavorable). It is hard to imagine she was a partisan polarizing figure before Trump went off on her for her Golden Globes speech.
We promise to run these polls periodically throughout the Trump presidency to better gauge the impact of Trump on how voters view important American brands. But, to make this successful we need to anticipate entities that Trump will praise or insult directly to get baseline values. Please comment with your suggestions!
Tobias Konitzer is a PhD candidate in communication at Stanford University. Find him on Twitter @KonitzerTobias.
Sam Corbett-Davies is a PhD candidate at Stanford University in computer science. Find him on Twitter @scorbettdavies.
David Rothschild is an economist at Microsoft Research. Find him on Twitter @DavMicRot.