Seventy percent (70%) of American voters have never participated in a boycott of a company over political issues, and 77% of voters say they haven’t gone out of their way to buy a company’s products because of political stands either.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted October 10-11, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
These results remained steady across almost all age, ethnic, and ideological groups. But Democrats (30%) were slightly less likely to say they’ve participated in a boycott than Republicans (36%). Similarly, only 27% of Republicans say they’ve bought a company’s products for political reasons, as opposed to just 22% of Democrats (see question wording and crosstab results).
Boycotts took center stage in the news cycle last month after Nike unveiled its controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick. Several conservative groups called for a boycott of Nike products in response to featuring Kaepernick, who began the practice of kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games. But Nike’s sales actually showed a boost in the weeks after the boycotts were first announced.
It is possible that Nike sales weren’t really harmed because the act of boycotting in general is so rare for such a large majority of Americans. Additionally, it is possible that the target audience for Nike products was not offended by the company’s support of Kaepernick.
Watching sporting events is slightly different than making a purchase. But the data from this survey challenges the notion that NFL viewership numbers are down because of the anthem issue as opposed to other problems in attracting and keeping viewers.
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