Americans Prefer Companies Send Aid — Not Just Make Statements — in Response to Hamas’ Attacks
Survey conducted Oct. 10-11, 2023 among a representative sample of 2,142 U.S. adults, 1,546 of whom said they know “a lot” or “some” about the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict or had seen, read or heard "a lot" or "some" about Hamas’ attack, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.
The U.S. public is watching in horror as events unfold in Israel, with a sizable majority aware of Hamas’ attacks.
The U.S. public is more in favor than not of companies reacting to the events. However, U.S. adults express reservations about companies getting outside of their lane. In particular, those who have seen corporate statements in recent days largely perceived them as having an element of publicity seeking.
Still, a majority of U.S. adults support company statements condemning violence and loss of life, suggesting they would be welcomed when authentic. But the best course of action is for companies to put their money where their mouth is, providing humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence.
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The horrific surprise terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7 have shocked people around the world. A 67% majority of U.S. adults reported hearing, seeing or reading something about the attacks in recent days, according to a Morning Consult survey conducted Oct. 10-11. Older adults and Democrats were even more likely to be following the unfolding events. By comparison, only 56% of U.S. voters had heard about the possible government shutdown two weeks prior — with far fewer hearing “a lot” about it — and 69% of U.S. voters had heard about Kevin McCarthy’s historic ouster from his position as speaker of the House of Representatives.
A Sizable Majority of Americans Are Aware of Hamas’ Attacks on Israel
Company statements can seem like attention grabs
Emotions are understandably running high, and entities from universities to businesses are considering what, if any, response to offer. Many have opted to make public statements about the attacks. While this can come across as sympathetic and appropriate, 69% of U.S. adults who have seen such statements think there is at least some element of attention-seeking in them.
Corporate Statements on Hamas’ Attacks Risk Coming Across as Publicity Plays
The best response for companies is to put their money where their mouth is
This doesn’t mean that statements — when authentic — are inevitably going to be panned by the public. A 58% majority of informed observers welcomed corporate remarks condemning the violence. But those who said they are following events in Israel reacted slightly better to the idea of putting actual resources on the table and donating to help those affected by violence (62%).
Humanitarian Donations Are the Best Course if Brands Choose to Act Amid the Israel-Hamas Conflict
Authenticity is key when plotting a course of action
It is the element of authenticity that is most important for those considering what action to take, if any. When asked about getting involved more broadly in commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. public expressed wariness of companies getting outside of their lane. A 41% plurality of U.S. adults are in favor of companies actively communicating their position and taking a role only when it directly relates to their core function, while 37% said that companies should focus on their business and not get involved. Not taking public action is thus seen as a valid course of action for many, if not most, corporate actors.
Companies Should Consider Carefully if Their Action Is Authentic
Sonnet Frisbie is the deputy head of political intelligence and leads Morning Consult’s geopolitical risk offering for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Sonnet spent over a decade at the U.S. State Department specializing in issues at the intersection of economics, commerce and political risk in Iraq, Central Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. She holds an MPP from the University of Chicago.