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

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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

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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

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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)

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

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