Barna: Shoppers Willing to Vote With Their Feet

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By Steve Jordahl,, October 30, 2017

A growing number of companies are publicly backing social causes but they might want to do so cautiously, warns a well-known pollster.

Recall that liberals attacked Chick-Fil-A, the popular fast food chain, in 2012 when the CEO said he opposed same-sex marriage. Yet days later conservatives lined up for more than chicken sandwiches and waffle fries – they sought to express support on “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.”

According to the survey, more than a quarter of conservatives and more than a third of liberals are willing to change their shopping habits based on a company’s social stance, says George Barna, executive director of the American Culture and Faith Institute.

“When we look at conservatives,” he says, “they’re most likely to be no longer buying products from Starbucks, or Target, or Wells Fargo, or Disney.”


Liberals, meanwhile, avoid Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

Starbucks sign“Those were the biggest ones,” he says, citing the survey.

More people are willing to stop shopping somewhere to protest a social stand, Barna learned, than to start shopping somewhere to support a company.

The survey showed, however, that conservatives eat at Chick-Fil-A and shop at Hobby Lobby because of their public stands. Liberals, meanwhile, shop online at and buy Starbucks coffee due to their stands.

“Relatively few companies come out ahead,” Barna advises. “We found that Amazon, Google, Microsoft and PayPal were the four that actually were doing better based on some of the stands that they’ve taken.”

The ones who have been hurt for their stance, or are still being hurt, he says, makes for a “much longer list.”