In late 2006, Fleishman-Hillard Inc. and the National Consumers League prepared for the second annual survey of Americans' perceptions of corporate social responsibility against the backdrop of sweeping national political change following the 2006 midterm elections. Democrats had captured both chambers of Congress as well as many governorships across the country. For the first time in more than six years, a greater percentage of Independents voted with Democrats, helping to turn the tide against incumbent Republicans.
In the wake of the November 2006 elections, we wondered whether Americans were viewing corporate social responsibility from a fourth perspective — as a voter. This year's survey, therefore, investigates Americans' perception of corporate social responsibility based on political party affiliations. We also used the survey findings to determine whether Americans expect government to play a role in realigning corporate America's priorities and values with their own.
We identified several compelling themes that appeared throughout the data. In particular, a substantial majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents believe that:
1. The American public's priorities appear to be out of alignment with corporate practices.
2. U.S. corporations do not act responsibly.
3. Government should be involved.
Our survey findings lead us to believe that Americans have reached a tipping point with their expectations of — and frustrations with — business. So much so, that they are now willing to have government step in to help realign corporate behavior with the values and priorities that they value.