New Antitrust Polling from a Big Tech-Funded Group
68 percent of voters in nine key states support antitrust reform legislation
Last week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a group funded in part by Google, released polling results from a nine-state survey examining voter sentiment surrounding the issues of Big Tech and antitrust reform. In its press effort, the organization highlighted that “regulating U.S. technology companies” was not the top priority for voters — instead, when asked to choose one issue as the most important issue for politicians to work on, voters overwhelmingly chose other priorities. This is the topline number that TPA wanted folks to focus on.
But TPA still wanted to get an accurate read on the state of play for antitrust. So it asked voters:
An astounding 68 percent of voters said they supported the legislation. Just 19 percent opposed.
TPA also performed what political insiders call an “informed ballot test” — it delivered its top persuasive message or messages to those being polled, and then asked them again where they stand on the legislation.
TPA highlighted the shift: now only 52 percent of voters supported the legislation, while 36 percent opposed. For those who might call this a push poll: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing something like this. Again, TPA wanted to get an accurate read on the state of play and see how its messaging worked. It got an answer. This is very standard — my organization has done the exact same thing in the past. In fact, we’re planning on going into the field to test all sorts of issues in the next week or two!
The problem for TPA isn’t in its methodology, or in its forthrightness in releasing the polling data. It’s that trustbusting the Big Tech companies is extremely popular. Informed ballot tests are not very reliable indicators — again, the person being asked these questions just heard a biased message in favor of one particular side — but you would still expect a compelling message to get to at least majority support. TPA’s preferred message or messages still left the anti-antitrust camp 16 points underwater!
There’s plenty of polling out there showing antitrust is popular and that voters are concerned about the power of the Big Tech companies. But I have a feeling that a lot of us in the anti-Big Tech world are going to enjoy citing the TPA poll in the coming months. I’ve attached the full TPA polling memo, which was released publicly on April 15th, below.