Brands reflect ideological associations, and keeping in the spirit of the present political climate, it appears that some have never been more divisive than they are today.
According to a recent study of the most polarizing brands in America conducted by digital politics and policy outlet The Morning Consult, companies, organizations or brand names seen as pro- or anti-Trump reveal massive gaps in favorability, depending on Americans’ political affiliation.
The top ten brands exhibiting the greatest difference in net favorability between Republicans and Democrats (click to see full list).
The Morning Consult’s study asked respondents to rate how they felt about particular brands, and brands were then ranked in terms of the differences they exhibited in net favorability (their favorable ratings minus their unfavorable ratings), to determine which are the most divisive among those who identified as Republican or Democrat.
The long and the short of it should come as a surprise to no one: Republicans immensely dislike brands critical of President Trump, and Democrats view any pro-Trump or Trump-associated brand as anathema.
President Trump’s hospitality company, Trump Hotels, was rated America's most polarizing brand in The Morning Consult rankings, exhibiting the study’s greatest net favorability divide (78 percentage points) between Republicans or Democrats.
Democrat-favored news network CNN took the number-two slot (with a 66 percent net favorability divide) while right-leaning Fox News and left-leaning NBC tied for the third-place (both with a 54 percent favorability gap).
In terms of overall aversion, Trump Hotels, Wells Fargo, DirectTV and Phillip Morris are among the brands with the highest unfavorable rating among Democrats, while the National Football League, CNN, MSNBC and MTV are some of the brands most disliked among Republicans. The NFL’s unusually high ranking, cited as the single most disliked Republican brand, was undoubtedly influenced as a result of the league’s First Amendment player protests against police brutality, which eventually boiled into a spat with President Trump.
It should also come as no surprise that U.S. media companies accounted for the brands that divided Democrats and Republicans the most often. The New York Times took fifth place in the list, beating out MSNBC, which was number-six. Washington Post was ranked tenth. Overall, media brands comprised 19 of the top 30 most polarizing brands in America, and accounted for all but one brand in the top ten (Trump Hotels).
The rankings brought to light other political battlegrounds among brands as well. Walmart is more popular among Republican shoppers, while Democrats see Target in a more favorable light. The NBA is a Democrat favorite, while Republicans prefer NASCAR. National pizza chains such as Papa John’s, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut are enjoyed overwhelmingly by Republicans.
Morning Consult’s “Most Polarizing Brands” study was based on survey interviews with more than 360,000 U.S. adults conducted online between early Oct. 2017 and early Jan. The top 30 brands were drawn from a prospective list of about 1,900.