Americans love to hate stuff. Current public debate suggests they especially hate taxes, big government, and, lately, President Obama. All three of those things (and several other hateables) can be conveniently filed under the mental category of "federal government." And that U.S. government, it turns out, is the most disliked business sector among 25 industries Gallup polled Americans on this past month.
Information technology and food-related industries topped Gallup's list of industries rated on likability, according to survey results released today. In August, Gallup asked a sample of American whether they had a positive or negative view of 25 industries. The "net positive" score for each industry--the percentage point difference between the portion of Americans with a positive view and the portion of Americans with a negative view of an area of business--is given in the chart below.
The computer industry, with firms like Apple and Microsoft that engender brand loyalty, is the most well-liked business sector in the U.S., with an overall approval rating of 72 percent. Internet companies--with ever-popular names such as Google and Twitter--received a similarly high approval rating of 56 percent, giving it the third highest net positive score. These two sectors received significant jumps in their respective approval ratings since last year, clearly a sign that computer-related technology is playing a more important role in people's lives that Americans appreciate. Food-related industries, such as restaurants and grocery stores, also are ranked high, which is perhaps a reflection of the primal, positive association people making between food companies and good eatin', or of the brand loyalty people have to certain food producers or providers. Which maybe means Americans are at their happiest when they're Googleing Whole Foods recipes on their MacBooks at Dunkin' Donuts--or something like that.