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What divides America? Movies and energy

Staff Writer |
At a time when partisan differences abound in American public opinion, Gallup finds the images of U.S. businesses and industries are not immune.

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There is a significant difference in how Republicans and Democrats rate nine of 25 business and industry sectors in the United States.

The movie and oil and gas industries generate the most polarized reviews, with Democrats much more positive about the movie industry and Republicans much more positive about oil and gas.

More generally, Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) are more likely than Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) to have very or somewhat positive views of six industries, while Republicans hold more positive impressions than Democrats of three industries.

Gallup has measured public attitudes about U.S. business and industry sectors as part of its Work and Education poll each August since 2001, asking respondents whether their overall view of each industry is very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative. This year's survey was conducted Aug. 2-6.

The movie industry has a partisan gap in positive ratings of 25 percentage points: 60% of Democrats view it positively vs. 35% of Republicans.

It also stands out as one of a handful of sectors that have seen their image become more polarized over the course of the Gallup trend.

Additionally, there is greater Democratic positivity toward the publishing, computer, television and radio, and advertising and public relations industries, as well as the field of education.

Democrats' more positive views of information industries like publishing and television make sense in the current political environment, with a Republican president who is at war with the media - however, these patterns are not new. Democrats have tended to view these industries more positively in previous years.

Still, it is possible that the movie industry has been swept up into the partisan landscape, given many high-profile actors' association with the Democratic Party and its causes.

And the partisan gap on education may tie in with a recent Gallup finding that many Republicans believe higher education is too liberal.

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