Poll: Gore's Populism Resonates


Sept. 20, 2000 -- — Al Gore’s drumbeat against corporate greed resonates with many Americans: Even in these good economic times, 63 percent in an ABCNEWS poll say large corporations have too much power for the good of the country.

There’s a strong political component to that view, and it helps explain Gore’s focus on the subject. Distrust of corporations is as high among independents — where Gore’s fishing for votes — as it is among Democrats, his base. It’s lower among Republicans.

Distrust of large corporations also is six points higher among women (who are critical to Gore’s hopes) than men. And the sharpest division is by income, fitting neatly into Gore’s broader pledge to “protect working families.” While better-off people are more apt to trust corporations, distrust runs as strong in the middle class as in low-income homes.

Distrust Declines Over Time

High though it is, distrust of corporate America actually has declined since earlier this decade, when economic discontent put the public in a snit. In 1992, 73 percent said corporations have too much power, 10 points higher than today.

It’s worth noting that this question taps into a general bias, not a specific complaint; polls that ask about individual corporations often find them rated positively. It’s like the difference between views of Congress (negative) and your own representative (more positive); or between ratings of crime or the schools nationally (bad) and crime or the schools in your own neighborhood (much better). Bogeymen are scarier in the abstract.


This ABCNEWS survey was conducted by telephone Sept. 13-17, 2000, among a random national sample of 931 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Field work was done by International Communications Research (ICR) of Media, Pa.

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