How Unpopular Is Big Business?

Last Updated Jan 16, 2008 2:04 PM EST

How Unpopular Is Big Business?When Gallup asked Americans if the earth revolves around the sun, 79% said yes. Shocked that 21% disagreed? That lack of general knowledge may be alarming, but for folks in business it might be more shocking to know that more Americans believe big business is untrustworthy than have a basic grasp of the revolutions of the solar system. A whopping 85% of Americans said that big business was less than honest in a recent Harris poll.

The results of the November poll were reported yesterday on the Huffington Post and the news was bad for a variety of industries.

less than 15 percent of the population believes each of the following industries to be "generally honest and trustworthy:"
  • tobacco companies (3 percent);
  • oil companies (3 percent);
  • managed care companies such as HMOs (5 percent);
  • health insurance companies (7 percent);
  • telephone companies (10 percent);
  • life insurance companies (10 percent);
  • online retailers (10 percent);
  • pharmaceutical and drug companies (11 percent);
  • car manufacturers (11 percent);
  • airlines (11 percent);
  • packaged food companies (12 percent);
  • electric and gas utilities (15 percent).
Surprisingly, given this level of distrust, less than half of Americans agree with more government regulation as a general principle. Give them specific proposals such a higher fuel efficiency for cars or more careful reviews of pharmaceuticals, however, and they overwhelmingly support the measures. In an election year, these are numbers to bear in mind.

(Image of the solar system by Royalty-free image collection, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.