Published on October 30, 2020 by the FairShake Team
As social media giants like Facebook and Twitter work to stem tides of misinformation in the days before Tuesday’s election (and face-off with politicians over their approaches for doing so), new polling shows distrust on both sides of the political spectrum for those companies’ performance on another key policy issue: their protection of users’ personal data.
The poll, conducted by consumer rights start-up FairShake, captured a rare point of bipartisan agreement, with majorities of both self-identified Democrats (62%) and self-identified Republicans (59%) favoring greater legal protections for consumer data.
When it came to regulation of corporate power on other key issues, Americans also supported greater government intervention: Majorities of Democrats and pluralities of Republicans favored greater consumer protections from monopolistic industries and greater protections for the tens of millions of Americans doing gig work.
The poll comes as we draw to the close of an election cycle that — with so much else in the news — saw little discussion of the increasing power of corporations to dictate unfair terms to their consumers and workers. But to find any issue on which a bipartisan majority see the need for actions is notable.
“A broad coalition of Americans recognize that our system has gotten out of balance in favor of big companies, and see a role for government in protecting individual rights,” said FairShake co-founder Max Kornblith about the results.
Kornblith says the poll signals common ground to work from as consumer issues continue to be debated at the federal and state level (California has both data privacy and gig worker protections onTuesday’s ballot). “Politicians who get it right on monopoly protections, privacy protections, and gig work regulation have the opportunity to gain supporters across the political spectrum,” he says, citing Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) as two examples.
At the national level, respondents were more split when asked whether the 2020 presidential candidates were friendly to consumers. Overall Americans see Joe Biden as caring more about individual consumers and Donald Trump as caring more about corporations, but partisan differences show through:
FairShake also asked respondents which candidate would better protect their individual rights as workers and consumers, and who would be tougher on corporations that violate consumer rights:
While these numbers provide a unique perspective on Americans’ perceptions of the candidates . “We all see so much evidence in our news consumption that the country is extremely divided,” said Kornblith, the FairShake co-founder. “But sometimes there are key issues Americans actually agree on and just don’t know it. I don’t think consumer protection has to be a partisan issue.”
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Using Pollfish.com, we surveyed 1,003 American adults. The survey ran online from September 21 to October 5, 2020. Results were stratified by Pollfish to match the gender and age distribution of the US population.
The self-identified party affiliation of respondents, pre-stratification, was:
Margin of error was +/- 4 percent for overall results and +/- 6 percent for party-level results.