Americans do not support politicians punishing firms for their views, Reuters/Ipsos poll finds

Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the welcome segment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) - A bipartisan majority of U.S. voters oppose politicians punishing companies over their stances on social issues, a cold reception for campaigns like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' against Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

The two-day poll completed on Thursday showed that 62% of Americans - including 68% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans - said they were less likely to back a candidate who supports going after companies for their views.

DeSantis signed a bill last week that strips Disney of self-governing authority at its Orlando-area parks in retaliation for its opposition to a new Florida law that limits the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools. read more

For DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party, it was an attempt to bolster his conservative credentials as a culture warrior ahead of a possible run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

But even when prompted along the lines of DeSantis' own argument for his action - that laws should remove benefits of government tax breaks from corporations that push a "woke" agenda - 36% of Republicans nationally said they would be less likely to support a candidate with such a view.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll still showed that DeSantis, 43, is a potential force in national Republican politics.

Presented with a list of prominent politicians, a full 25% of Republican respondents said DeSantis best represents the values of their party, second only to former President Donald Trump who was favored by 40% of Republicans. Texas Governor Greg Abbott garnered 9%.

But the poll also showed a nation deeply divided on how schools teach about sexual orientation and gender identity -- the subject of the controversial Florida law.

Half of U.S. voters support laws banning classroom discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity for children age 5-11, including 69% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English and throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,003 adults and had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points.

(This story corrects name in first paragraph)

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis

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