Florida governor Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company have lately been involved in a series of political controversies beginning with the introduction of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. When the bill (commonly called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics) was signed into law, Disney spoke out against it. In response, DeSantis and other Florida politicians have eliminated Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, which essentially allows Disney World to function as its own county government.
The events have been followed by several other attacks against Disney, including a threat to the copyright protections of Mickey Mouse and the no-fly airspace above US Disney parks. These events have presented DeSantis and Disney as rivals in a political stand-off. Now, NBC has conducted a study to see where public opinion falls on both the Florida governor and the entertainment giant.
NBC conducted a new survey through the Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies to track public approval of several companies and political figures. The survey included questions about President Joe Biden, the Republican and Democratic parties, and several other figures and businesses, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company.
The survey participants included 1,000 adults, with 750 respondents interviewed on their cell phones. It took place from May 5th through the 10th of 2022. The margin of error is ±3.49%.
The poll asked participants to “rate [their] feelings toward each [figure or entity] as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative.” The results showed that participants were split on both DeSantis and Disney. For DeSantis, 20% of participants felt very positive toward him, and 20% felt very negative. For Disney, 15% of respondents felt very positive toward the company, and 15% felt very negative. 15% of respondents felt neutral toward DeSantis, while 30% felt neutral toward Disney.
31% of participants didn’t have an opinion or didn’t know DeSantis, but only 7% of respondents didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion on Disney. Rather than showing that people don’t have an opinion on DeSantis, this likely has more to do with the fact that Disney is simply much more well-known than the Florida governor.
In terms of net favorability, DeSantis ended with a +2 rating, and Disney ended with a +3 rating. While both had positive favorability, it’s surprising that Disney was only 1 point higher than DeSantis.
Part of the reason for this slim margin of difference could be that many politicians in the Republican party have followed DeSantis in turning against Disney. Earlier this year, several politicians wrote a letter to the company condemning their response to the Parental Rights in Education law.
We’ll continue to watch for more developments in this story, so stay tuned with DFB for more updates.