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New Survey Indicates Large Majority Of Americans Favor Small Businesses; Leery About Corporate Profits

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/16/2011

A new annual survey commissioned by the Public Affairs Council reveals Americans' views on businesses and the marketplace.

In a recent "Public Affairs Pulse" survey conducted by the Public Affairs Council, a nonpartisan professional organization comprised of both large and small member businesses, Americans offered their perspectives on issues ranging from corporate compensation to the delivery of products and services in the marketplace.

Small Business Love

According to the survey results, 14% of respondents indicated a very favorable opinion of major companies with another 47% indicating a somewhat favorable opinion. Approximately one-third of Americans have unfavorable attitudes toward large companies and corporations.

Yet Americans' views about small businesses are less muddled. When it comes to straightforward favorability, small businesses are the big winners with 90% of Americans indicating favorable views (compared to 61% favorability toward big business).

Other survey results reveal that Americans are generally leery about the role of profits in large corporations, with many respondents indicating that CEOs and executives are overcompensated at the expense of fair salaries for regular workers and low-level managers. More than three out of four (77%) Americans believe that a few large companies wield excessive power and that the corporate world has not done a good job at reining in executive compensation.

Based on current economic conditions, middle-class Americans are not optimistic about the future. More than 70% of respondents believe major companies have failed in their responsibility to drive the economy through job growth.

The survey also revealed a shift in public opinion toward business as the primary force for solving problems that were once considered to fall under the umbrella of government. Americans expect businesses to play an increasingly larger role in education, healthcare, disaster recovery and other issues but acknowledge that businesses have mostly failed to meet the public's expectations in job creation and environmental advocacy.

While it's clear that the survey presents significant challenges, particularly for large companies, it also offers opportunities for any business that is willing to adapt to the mood and sentiments of American consumers.

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