Nine-in-Ten Voters in Key Frontline Districts Support Candidates Who Ensure U.S. Tech Remains Globally Competitive
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new survey released today by Ipsos in partnership with the American Edge Project (AEP) shows that voters in frontline districts want their elected officials to focus on issues of national security, jobs, and health care as opposed to breaking up tech companies. The poll, which comes as Congress considers legislation to break up U.S. tech companies and the 2022 midterm election cycle gets underway, shows that majorities of voters in frontline districts see breaking up U.S. tech companies as misguided and believe it will harm America’s national security, economy, and small businesses.
According to the survey, voters are also signaling that candidates on both sides of the aisle will lose support for advocating the break-up of American tech companies. Democratic candidates may be especially sensitive to this potential political cost, as the poll shows that frontline district Independents shift away from Democratic candidates who support breaking up tech companies – moving Democrats from having an advantage in these crucial districts to falling behind their Republican opponent.
“This new survey shows the stark juxtaposition between voters’ priorities and the misguided approaches being pushed by some policymakers in Washington,” said former Senator Kent Conrad, American Edge Project Economic Advisory Board Co-Chair. “Voters have made it clear that they will support candidates who keep U.S. tech companies globally competitive and oppose candidates who support counterproductive and harmful regulation.”
“It’s clear Americans want their elected officials to focus on jobs, health care, and national security,” said former Senator Saxby Chambliss, American Edge Project Economic Advisory Board Co-Chair. “Antitrust legislation that would break up tech innovators will not only do more harm than good, it will buck the will of voters going into election season. Nobody wins in that scenario.”
“The poll indicates that, across party lines, voters in frontline districts want their elected leaders to focus on issues that affect their daily lives and the country’s security — breaking up big tech is just not among those priorities,” added American Edge Project advisor and former senior FTC and DOJ official Asheesh Agarwal. “Contrary to what the voters want, the pending antitrust proposals would hamstring American innovation, harm small businesses, and erode our technological edge against foreign competitors.”
The poll, which was conducted between Aug. 13-23, surveyed 708 registered voters across 32 Congressional frontline districts. Key findings include:
- Policymakers pushing tech regulation are out of touch with their voters and pursuing a low priority issue. Voters rate regulating U.S. tech companies as a comparatively low priority (65% top-major priority), below all others tested. Only 19% of voters in frontline districts say it is their top priority. Instead, they want their representatives to focus on protecting American national security (91% top-major priority, 61% top priority), jobs (88% top-major priority, 52% top priority), and health care (86% top-major priority, 58% top priority).
- There is virtually no constituency for breaking up U.S. tech companies. Despite recent efforts to break up U.S. tech companies, just 14% support such a move, including just 15% of Democrats, 12% of independents, and 12% of Republicans. Moreover, 42% believe the domestic tech sector should not be regulated more than it is today, including 30% of Democrats, 44% of independents, and 52% of Republicans. These voters want to see some regulation but believe breaking up U.S. tech companies is not the solution.
- Voters in frontline districts believe breaking up tech companies will harm the economy, national security, and small businesses. Voters in frontline districts are intimately worried about the economic consequences that could result in breaking up U.S. companies. They are concerned that:
- Without the top American companies intact, the U.S. could be less economically competitive (83% concerning, 75% believable)
- There could be unintended negative consequences like greater threats to U.S. national security and the U.S. losing its economic competitive edge (84% concerning, 74% believable)
There is also significant concern among voters about the potential national security implications. They are concerned that:
- U.S. consumers and national security could be more vulnerable to cyber attacks (87% concerning, 77% believable),
- Critical infrastructure could be more vulnerable to cyber attacks (87% concerning, 77% believable)
- America could be less able to conduct counterterrorism efforts because would-be terrorists will be more dispersed across multiple platforms, making it more difficult for law enforcement to find them (84% concerning, 70% believable).
There is additional concern about the impact breaking up tech companies will have on small businesses. Voters are worried that:
- American small businesses that rely on tech platforms to reach consumers could be hurt because they could be forced to buy into additional platforms to reach the same number of consumers (83% concerning, 78% believable).
- As a result, voters in frontline districts believe breaking up tech companies is a misguided solution that does more harm than good. Nearly all voters in frontline districts agree U.S. tech companies need better rules when it comes to how they use our data, and how they impact small businesses, but breaking up U.S. tech companies does not actually fix any of these problems (80% agree) – including most Democrats (81%), Republicans (80%), and independents (73%).
- Voters are signaling that they will shift away from candidates who support break-up. The majority of voters in frontline districts say they could not vote for a candidate who supports regulation that limits access to online tools and services, like Amazon Prime and Google Maps, and limits access to free social media services like Facebook, and Instagram (52% could never vote). In contrast, nearly all voters could vote for a candidate who supports creating new jobs (96% could vote), protecting small businesses (95%), protecting America’s national security interest (95%), and ensuring U.S. tech companies remain globally competitive (90%).
- Democrats and Republicans alike have a very small margin for error (+3 Net Democrat on the Generic Ballot) heading into the November 2022 election. Voters move away from a Democratic candidate who supports breaking up U.S. tech companies (+3 net Dem to -2).
This is a warning to candidates on both sides of the aisle, as this shift away from a Democratic candidate is driven by independents decisively flipping their vote preference (+14 to -2) and shrinking support among Democrats (+91 to +66). This movement puts Democratic candidates in a losing position.
The poll results make it clear that policymakers who are pushing misguided tech regulation are out of touch with voters and should be wary of the potential political ramifications of prioritizing legislation to break up U.S. tech companies. Rather, people want their elected officials to focus on the issues that are top-of-mind for American voters.
To read the full research and analysis from this Ipsos study, see the memo and the presentation.
About the American Edge Project: The American Edge Project is a newly formed coalition dedicated to the proposition that American innovators are an essential part of U.S. economic health, national security, and individual freedoms. For more information, visit https://americanedgeproject.org/.
About Ipsos: Ipsos is the world’s third-largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.
Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers, or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.
Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).