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Trouble In Mouse-Land? ‘Woke’ Disney Takes Huge Hit In Trust: I&I/TIPP Poll

The Disney corporate dynasty has been a bedrock part of Americana since the 1930s, a family-friendly icon without peer. But its recent stance on parents’ rights to decide what their kids should be taught in school about sexuality endangers that, a new I&I/TIPP Poll shows.

As part of our April I&I/TIPP poll, we asked 1,305 adults across America the following question: “How closely are you following the recent story about the opposition of some Disney employees to the new Florida law forbidding classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade?”

A larger share of Americans (47%) said they weren’t following the story closely than those who said they were (43%). Democrats were far more likely to follow the story (57%) than Republicans (45%) and independents (33%). One other significant difference: Men (52%) were way more likely than women (35%) to follow the story.

We followed up with a second question to those following the story: “As a result of the recent stories, how much trust would you place in Disney’s programming for your children, assuming you have any?”

There, 54% of Americans said they trusted Disney’s programming, versus those who said they didn’t. A look at the detail of the responses is telling: Just 31% of those queried answered that they had “a lot of trust” in the Disney entertainment factory. And 23% said they had “quite a bit.”

Meanwhile, 21% said they had “little trust,” and 20% said they had “no trust at all.” That’s four of every 10 Americans, a dismal result for such a once-beloved corporation.

And as with so many other issues, the public is sharply split along political lines.

Democrats overwhelmingly trust Disney’s programming — by a 77% to 19% margin. For Republicans, it’s nearly the reverse, only 23% now trust Disney programming, compared with 70% who don’t. Most telling, however, is the fact that independents no longer trust the Mouse: 42% say they trust Disney’s designs on their children, while 52% say they don’t.

Disney routinely makes “best company” lists for its film and television programming, along with its enormously popular theme parks.

In recent years, Disney has made lists of “World’s Most Reputable Companies,” “America’s Most Trustworthy Companies,” and “10 Most Trusted Brands,” among many others, an enviable corporate record.

But its recent foray into the raw politics of Florida’s battle over what should be taught to young children in school risks all that.

The fight pits Florida’s moderate-conservative Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis against Disney’s activist CEO Bob Chapek, who has come out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, signed into law by DeSantis. That legislation bars instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in schools from kindergarten through grade three.

Even Disney’s own shareholders are speaking up.

“Here’s a suggestion for Disney CEO Bob Chapek: Get back to business, that is, excellence in storytelling, and stop wasting shareholders’ money on political crusades that have nothing to do with Disney’s business,” DisneyBizJournal.com editor Ray Keating told Fox News Digital.

The left-leaning British news group The Guardian was blunt in a recent headline on Disney’s advocacy of extreme LGBTQ politics: “The company’s tone-deaf mishandling of Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bill has revealed a long-gestating conflict.”

The “long-gestating conflict,” of course, is among Disney’s thousands of employees who, like much of the rest of America, don’t see eye-to-eye on political issues.

But of perhaps greater concern for the company’s future is the more direct political threat from outside the company.

Congressional Republicans have talked about letting Disney’s long-standing copyright on its No. 1 icon, Mickey Mouse, lapse when it comes up for renewal, thus depriving the company of one of its most reliable, long-standing revenue streams.

DeSantis, meanwhile, has discussed possibly repealing the half-century-old legislation which gives Disney extraordinary political control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Never heard of it? It contains all of Disney World and much of the surrounding territory and gives the Disney execs near-total control over their domain.

Without that untrammeled control, Disney’s extensive property holdings and the buildings on them become less valuable.

Finally, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is pushing to repeal loopholes in his state’s tax laws that let Disney avoid literally hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes there each year.

“I envision a Sunshine State where all corporations play fair and, consequentially, hard-working Floridians pay less in taxes,” Gaetz said, saying he would call on both Democrats and Republicans in Florida’s legislature to “to act now and end the Disney tax loophole.”

So while Disney does have a majority of people saying they trust the company’s programming for kids, that trust is in fact quite narrow. Because of its extreme political stance, Disney, wildly popular in its heyday, is now in trouble with a big chunk of the American people, as the I&I/TIPP data indicate.

The end of Disney, as we know it? Or a brave new beginning?

As noted above, these polling data come from the April I&I/TIPP Poll, which was conducted online from April 4-6. The poll of 1,305 adults across the country has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Each month, I&I/TIPP provides timely and informative data from our polls on this topic and others of interest to Americans. TIPP has earned a reputation for excellence by being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute

14 comments

  • If Disney, in the past, donated to Republicans it was because Disney correctly thought that democrats would be likely to increase their taxes exponentially, not because Disney had a warm spot in their hearts for Republicans. Then Disney decided to spit in the faces of, not only Republicans, but parents as well, and now they are learning what they should have initially understood. Turn on Republicans and parents in such a shocking way, and they just might not continue to feel all warm and fuzzy or benevolent about you, nor would they feel they need to keep protecting you from the taxes and the demands from government that the rest of us have to live with. I am surprised that the numbers in favor of Disney are still as high as they are, but if they continue on the path they are now traveling they may soon learn they have a bigger problem than they thought. Turning on families for Disney, is called “biting the hand that feeds you”!

    • The poll itself is misleading. A LOT of people have a LOT of trust in the older Disney content. It is specifically content in the past 10 years which is, at the very best, suspect.

      • Yes, it would have been helpful if the poll specifically asked about new and recent content.

        And, I’m confused by this question: “As a result of the recent stories, how much trust would you place in Disney’s programming for your children, assuming you have any?”

        Is this saying that you should respond if you have kids? Or that you should respond as if you have kids, whether you do or not?

        What you really need to see are the responses of people with kids. (Maybe grandkids would be of some value too, since they might take their grandkids to Disney.)

        Otherwise, the poll is, to most respondents, too abstract, and mostly just reflects partisan political leanings. I really don’t care what a bunch of lefty single 20-somethings without kids (and who probably will never have them) say to a purely hypothetical question.

    • I wouldn’t assume that it’s only “Republican” or “conservative” parents that are disgusted or enraged or disappointed by Disney’s turn toward in such an extreme direction. I think plenty of parents of (almost) all stripes are pretty disgusted – especially after more than 2 dozen (30 or 32 at last count) Disney employees have been charged with child abuse (pedophilia, or child porn). But, yes, I imagine that most such parents are “moderate” to “conservative”, as the vast majority understand the importance of maintaining a child’s innocence in order for them to grow into sane (I can’t think of a better word) adults.

  • Just count on me to refuse Disney trips and products for my six grandchildren in two families.

  • Just wanted to note that it is a Copyright not a Patent on Mickey Mouse. You might want to edit that.

  • Reading this, a thought just struck me… The Globalists are pushing normalization of pedophilia and sexualization of children really, really, really hard. Hence the very recent horrifying confirmation of soft-on-pedophilia “judge” Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court. Now, they’ve pushed/pulled Disney in this direction really, really, really hard. Because of this “turn” in their direction, Disney is now facing serious pushback, and to such a degree that it’s very existence is likely threatened. Now, maybe a lot of folks think, “Good!”. And, should that happen, their assets would not doubt be purchased by another company.
    As Disney is (was) a truly “American” brand/image/production, I’m wondering if the company wasn’t SPECIFICALLY TARGETED because of that… As many of us now know, America is really the ONLY thing keeping the Globalists from their full takeover of the entire world. Therefore, everything about America and everything American MUST be destroyed.

      • Yes, the company, and the sickos in it directing & making these actions happen, are all still responsible for them. 100%

    • Spot on. Disney was explicitly targeted for subversion and corruption because it stood for wholesome values.

      Walt was also vilified for certain attitudes.

      Look at the composition of Disneys executives and you’ll also have a clear idea of who and why.

  • If you want your children or grandchildren to enjoy all of the great Disney Classics, I suggest downloading and saving them now before Disney remakes them with male princesses and subliminal sexual messaging.

  • What worries, yet typifies them, is the large % of Republicans who are not following this story. Then, when their children are brainwashed , and display deviant behaviour, they will cry ” I didn’t know.” Bet they know what the Kardashians have for breakfast. “Ignorance is Power.”

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