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Gallup: Farming Industry Has Best Image, Sports Plummets

Brian Trusdell

September 11, 2020

Farming climbed to the top of Gallup's annual survey of the most popular industries, while sports plummeted to the third worst among 25 categories, the polling organization has announced.

Agriculture was viewed favorably by 69% of those surveyed, up 11 percentage points from a year ago and the first time it has claimed the top spot in Gallup's 20 years of conducting the poll, which was released Tuesday.

It was followed by the grocery business (63%), restaurants (61%), and computers (56%). The only other industry to be viewed favorably by a majority was the retail business, with 53% approval.

The pharmaceutical industry gained 7 percentage points to 34%, climbing out of the cellar and giving the title of the least favorably viewed industry back to the federal government, which was viewed positively by 30% of those surveyed in the poll.

But the biggest change among all the industries was sports, which dropped from having a positive image among 45% of people surveyed in 2019 to 30% this year.

It is viewed negatively by 40% of Americans.

Gallup did not characterize the reasons for the slump, but noted the outbreak of the coronavirus, which forced leagues to suspend their seasons, and the organizations' support for Black Lives Matter protests.

Gallup said it was notable that while Democrats showed little discernable change in their attitude about sports over the past year, Republicans have changed from a net favorable rating of plus-11 in 2019 to a minus-35 this year. Additionally, independents went from a plus-26 rating to a minus-10.

Support dropped among both whites and non-whites, Gallup said, but it was bigger among non-whites, who last year had a net favorability rating of plus-51. This year, it fell to plus-16. More white Americans now view sports negatively than positively, going from a net positive image of plus-4 to minus-22.

The survey of 1,031 adults was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 12 across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. Seventy percent of the surveys were conducted by mobile phone and the other 30% were done by landline.


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