Poll Reveals: Corporations Risk Backlash for Blackballing Conservatives
by David Almasi
New National Center for Public Policy Research Presents Poll to Yum! Brands Showing Negative Public Response to Its Rejection of Conservative Group Over Voter ID
Owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell also Faced Negative Backlash for Lobbying for Food Stamp Use in Fast Food Restaurants
Other Corporations Also Caved In to Anti-Voter Petition Circulated by Tiny Far-Left Group, Face Similar Backlash
Louisville, KY / Washington, DC - Today, at the YUM! Brands annual shareholder meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, company CEO David Novak was faced with the results of a new National Center for Public Policy Research poll showing the American people do not agree with recent controversial Yum! Brands decisions.
Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, recently blackballed a conservative organization over Voter ID and lobbied the government to allow food stamps to be used in its fast food restaurants.
The National Center conducted a nationwide poll to determine public opinion about these decisions. National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof presented the results to the Yum! Brands CEO and Board of Directors at the shareholder meeting.
Prior to respondents being told about Yums! Brands' food stamp lobbying, the YUM! Brands name had a very low unfavorability of 10 percent. However, after participants were asked how the fact that Yum! Brands lobbied the government to allow fast food restaurants to accept food stamps affected their opinion of the company, over half (54%) said it make them less favorable toward the company with 37% saying it made them MUCH less favorable. Only 17% said it made them feel more favorable.
When poll participants were asked what they thought of Yum!'s decision to drop its work with the conservative group, 36% said Yum!'s decision made them feel less favorable toward Yum! while only 22% said Yum!'s decision made them feel more favorable.
The poll was conducted by The Polling Company from May 10-13 of 1,000 adults aged 18+. The margin of error is calculated at +/- 3.1%.
"In April, YUM! discontinued its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) under pressure from a tiny fringe left-wing radical group known as Color of Change," Danhof told Novak during the meeting. "Color of Change was founded by former Obama Administration Czar Van Jones, who was encouraged to resign after it was alleged that he is a 9-11 'truther.' ALEC supported voter ID laws, which some on the fringe left falsely consider 'racist.'"
At the shareholder meeting, Danhof asked Novak: "So my question is twofold: in light of our poll results would you like to now reconsider either your membership in ALEC or your position on food stamp lobbying? And second, if you agree with Color of Change and other left-wing radicals that voter ID laws are racist, why was everyone in this room required to show proper ID to enter this meeting? Is the YUM shareholder meeting more important than ballot integrity and protecting the right to vote in free American elections?"
"Novak told me that his company no longer lobbies to allow the use of food stamps in its restaurants, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell," said Danhof. "This is a very positive step to restoring YUM!'s image, however, Novak stood by his company's decision to stop working with ALEC, saying that these types of decision require public relations 'balancing.'"
Novak ducked Danhof's last two questions entirely.
"The poll results are clear; many Americans are losing their taste for YUM! Brands and its restaurants," said Danhof. "By standing by his company's decision to drop support for ALEC, Novak clearly set YUM!'s stake with the far-left fringe. In fact, a member of Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition in attendance at today's meeting heaped praise YUM! for dropping its support for ALEC and its 'radical agenda.'"
"I encourage all conservative and free-market minded Americans to contact YUM! executives and let them know that voter integrity is important to the American way of life and that fringe left-wing groups like Color of Change and the Rainbow Push Coalition do not speak for the majority of Americans," said Danhof. "Maybe this will tip YUM!'s public relations balancing test back in favor of common sense."
"I was also offended that YUM! company officials demanded to see my photo ID before I was permitted to enter the meeting," added Danhof. "If YUM! agrees with the Color of Change and the radical communist Van Jones that voter ID laws are racist, why did the company force me and every other shareholder to present a valid government-issued photo ID to enter today's shareholder meeting? Either YUM! is a racist company or its officials are blatant hypocrites."
"The poll results weren't good for Yum! and also send a warning to the other frightened corporations who caved in to the left over Voter ID," added Amy Ridenour, Chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Forty percent of the American people call themselves 'conservative' in Gallup polls. That's 95 million adult conservative consumers. Seventy percent of adult Americans of all political persuasions support Voter ID. Yet when a tiny left-wing fringe group asked corporations supportive of ALEC's work - its work on any issue, including low taxes and improving public schools - to boycott ALEC because it also supported Voter ID, these corporations fled. Consumers need to think about their relationships with these corporations, which include Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Pepsi, Wendy's, Mars candy, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and others."
A copy of Justin Danhof's question, as prepared for delivery, can be found here. More details about the poll questions and results will be released at a later date.
Danhof attended the meeting as proxy for National Center President David Ridenour, a YUM! Brands shareholder. The National Center for Public Policy Research also is a shareholder. ALEC is a 39-year-old national dues-paying membership organization of pro-free market and/or conservative state legislators.
A selection of other National Center statements about the corporate boycott of ALEC can be found here, here and here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. In 2011 it received over 350,000 individual donations. Two percent of its revenue comes from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.