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Brands on the Run from Political Ire

A new survey from public-opinion polling firm Morning Consult has found that the most politically divisive brands in the U.S. are, in order, Trump Hotels,CNNandFox News/NBC News (they tied for third).

Another takeaway from the numbers: Diet soft drinks are advised not to be used while seeking political office anytime soon, though pairing them up with a slice of pizza might balance the ticket in red states.

“Politically divisive” is defined in the poll as the greatest difference between the net favorability of Republicans versus Democrats — “the spread,” in gambling terms. That gap between approval and disapproval for Trump Hotels was a whopping 78.

CNN came in second at 66, with Fox News and NBC News third at 54 each.

The most unfavorable brand among Republicans (a separate issue from politically divisive) is the National Football League (49% unfavorable), a byproduct no doubt of the national anthem protests, with CNN a close second (48%), although that is basically a statistical tie given the margin of error.

While Trump Hotels is the most unfavorable brand with Democrats, the least favorite brand of independents was Diet Pepsi (45% unfavorable), with Democrats ranking the soft drink No. 3 in unfavorables at 39%, tied with Diet Mountain Dew.

And what is a Diet Mountain Dew without a slice of pizza to wash down? Papa John’s was more popular with Republicans over Democrats by 24 percentage points in net approval. That could have something to do with its esteem among the alt-right after the chain blamed flagging pizza sales on the NFL protests, but Morning Consult said the pizza divide preceded that, adding, “Pizza industry experts suggest the popularity of major chains in traditionally conservative states — and to some extent, price and the level of more premium toppings — could be reasons for the divide.”

The inaugural Most Polarizing Brands report was tabulated using surveys of a whopping 336,370 U.S. adults conducted from Oct. 3, 2017-Jan. 2. It has a margin of error between 0.5 and 3.1 percentage points.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.