New numbers from polling organization YouGov reveal that the public's approval of Chik-Fil-A has taken a nosedive since it came to light that the fast food chain gave more than 2 million dollars to anti-gay causes (including some that promote so-called "ex-gay therapy" and others that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and that its CEO Dan Cathy believes that marriage equality is "inviting God's judgment;" and that our culture has a "deprived mind." According to YouGov:
Chick-Fil-A and the Top National QSR Sector were measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Index score, the company's flagship brand health measurement. The Index score is an average of key scores measuring quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend. All measurements were filtered for adults 18+ who have eaten fast food in the past month. The Top National QSR sector average includes such brands as Pizza Hut, Arby's, Papa John's, Domino's, Taco Bell, KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, and Long John Silver's.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
On July 16th, the day the Baptist Press published its Dan Cathy interview, Chick-Fil-A's Index score was 65, a very substantial 19 points above the Top National QSR Sector average score that day of 46.
Four days later, Chick-Fil-A had fallen to 47 score, three points below the Top National QSR Sector average score of 50. This past Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A had a 39 score compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.
That's a twenty-six point drop, reflective of an America that values and respects its LGBT neighbors and rejects rhetoric like Dan Cathy's that seeks to demean and dehumanize the LGBT community.
Earlier this year YouGov found that J.C. Penney’s inclusion of a lesbian couple in their Mother’s Day catalog - which incited a statement from the anti-gay group One Million Moms – sent the retail chain’s consumer perception soaring with U.S. mothers for more than a week.
Business leaders like Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who recently pledged 2.5 million dollars to help keep the marriage equality law passed by Washington State elected officials, know that supporting their LGBT employees and customers is not just the right thing to do, it helps their bottom line. Bezos joins Nike and Microsoft in Washington state. In June, conservative hedge fund investor Paul Singer gave his support to the loving and committed couples trying to reinstate the marriage law that was passed by Maine lawmakers in 2009. In Minnesota, news giant Thompson Reuters and food manufacturer General Mills are asking their supporters not to write a proposed ban on marriage equality in to the state's constitution. Earlier this year 70 major businesses and employers signed an amicus brief asking the court to overturn the discriminatory so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" which prevents married same sex couples from being recognized by the federal government, among other things. Those employers include Google, CBS, Gap, Aetna, EA Games, Starbucks, New Balance, Xerox, and the cities of Seattle, Boston, and New York.
The business world has seen what happens when an organization supports the LGBT community - which is that the LGBT community and its allies will support it. Now we have empirical proof of what happens when a company rejects the LGBT community. The LGBT community and its allies will reject it.
These numbers show that customer opposition to Chick-Fil-A goes far beyond just those who are taking part in protests and kiss-ins. The sentiment stretches to decision makers and dinner tables in homes across the country, and other corporations should take note.
To find out more about actions against Chick-Fil-A, or to promote your own, visit the GLAAD Chick-fil-a action page.
UPDATE: We have learned that Don Perry, Vice President of Corporate Public Relations for Chick-fil-A, has passed away. An unexpected death is a tragedy to any family. GLAAD sends condolences to his family and friends.