New Yahoo News/YouGov poll: MLB decision seen favorably but country is split over business involvement in politics

Jon Ward
·Chief National Correspondent
·6 min read

 

More Americans favor Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia than oppose it, but the country is decidedly split on whether big business should get involved in political disputes.

Forty percent of Americans said they favored MLB’s choice to move the mid-July All-Star Game to Colorado after the Georgia Legislature passed a voting bill that was decried by Democrats as voter suppression, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

The survey of 1,649 U.S. adults, which was conducted from April 6 to April 8, found that 33 percent of respondents opposed the choice by MLB, while 27 percent were undecided. This is a similar finding to another recent survey by Morning Consult on the same question, which found 39 percent support and 28 percent opposition.

Grounds crew workers
Coors Field in Denver, the new site of MLB's All-Star Game. (David Zalubowski/AP)

And while there was moderate support for the MLB move, there is a clear lack of consensus in the country on whether corporations like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola should make political statements like they did regarding the Georgia voting bill.

Americans were split, with 39 percent opposing businesses “getting involved in politics in this way,” and 38 percent supporting it, while 23 percent were not sure. But only 25 percent of Americans said they would join in a boycott of Coca-Cola urged on by former President Trump, with 55 percent saying they would not. More than half of Republicans (54 percent) said they would join the boycott, but independents (56 percent) were clearly opposed to the boycott.

As to the legislation itself, 46 percent of those surveyed opposed the new law, and 37 percent supported it.

On each question, there was a clear partisan split, with heavy majorities of Democrats opposing the law and supporting both the action by Major League Baseball and the criticism from corporate leaders, while most Republicans felt the opposite.

Independents, meanwhile, were evenly split on the Georgia voting bill and only narrowly opposed MLB’s All-Star decision, with 40 percent against and 36 percent in favor of the move. Independents were more decidedly against business involvement in politics, with 48 percent expressing displeasure and 33 percent in support.

The issue of corporations interjecting themselves into political disputes has been fiercely criticized by Republicans who support the Georgia bill and in general have favored some restrictions on voting. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this week said, “My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics. It’s not what you’re designed for. And don’t be intimidated by the left into taking up causes that put you right in the middle of America’s greatest political debates.”

He added: “I’m not talking about political contributions.” But McConnell has been one of the fiercest defenders in American politics of the right of corporations to make financial contributions to politicians without disclosure, under the argument that political contributions are indeed a form of speech. And the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which opened the floodgates for anonymous corporate donations, relied on this conception of financial giving as speech.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Georgia bill itself makes it harder to vote by mail but easier to vote early in person, while it criminalizes the act of handing out water or food to people standing in line to vote and gives the state Legislature more control over elections.

President Biden has repeatedly referred to Georgia’s new voting law as “Jim Crow on steroids,” while Republicans have insisted that the Georgia law is less restrictive than the ones in place in some blue states such as New York.

But voting experts say the truth is complicated. Richard Hasen, author of “Election Meltdown,” told Yahoo News that the new Georgia law is “a mixed bag.”

“Some parts of it actually make some sense in making things better,” Hasen said. “Some parts of it can only be understood as an attempt to suppress the vote among counties where you’re going to find large numbers of minority voters. And some of it is really aimed at making the vote-counting process more politicized, which I think is the least covered but most dangerous aspect of the law.”

Much of the outrage over the Georgia legislation was in reaction to an attempt in an earlier version of the bill that would have eliminated early voting on Sundays, when Black churches often organize parishioners to go to vote after worship services in what has become known as “Souls to the Polls.” And that was all in the context of a push by Republicans in legislatures around the country to roll back voting access, with a raft of bills proposed by lawmakers who claimed that the measures were needed to combat voter fraud.

The biggest problem with the Georgia law, Hasen said, is that “Republicans are feeding the Trumpian base of the Republican Party, which believes the false claims that the election was stolen and something needs to be done.”

Demonstrators in Atlanta
Demonstrators protest outside of the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

When it came to specific provisions of the bill, it was actually the move to give the state Legislature more control of elections that was most unpopular among those surveyed. A clear majority of 56 percent opposed this, with only 15 percent supporting it. It was one of the few parts of the bill where even Republican voters opposed it (45 percent), as did those who voted for Trump in 2020 (47 percent).

However, almost a majority of Trump 2020 voters (48 percent) supported “making it illegal to provide food and water to people in line waiting to vote.” Longer voting lines usually happen in more densely populated urban areas, often in localities that are under-resourced as well.

Among the provisions criticized by Democrats, there was clear overall support (58 percent) for requiring voters to submit a copy of their ID with their application to vote by mail. Democratic voters were split 40/40, while 82 percent of Republicans supported it as did 66 percent of independents.

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The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,649 U.S. adults interviewed online from April 6 to April 8, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 presidential vote (or non-vote), and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.6 percent.

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