The JUST Report: Why Reports of The Polling Industry’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

The polling industry has faced a huge amount of criticism over the past few weeks. Yes, as this roundup by Rolling Stone shows, the pollsters got a lot wrong about the presidential election. But it’s also fair to point out, as Nate Silver says, that, “Voters and the media need to recalibrate their expectations around polls…because those expectations demanded an unrealistic level of precision – while simultaneously resisting the urge to ‘throw all the polls out.’”

If you’ve been following our work, you will know that JUST Capital is a survey-driven organization, and so we take this issue very seriously. Jennifer Tonti, our Managing Director of Survey Research, summarizes here what went wrong (and what went right) with this election cycle’s political polling, and how JUST’s approach differs. I encourage you to read it.

Two key points to keep in mind. The first is that the public’s opinion doesn’t always need to be used to try and predict outcomes. At JUST, our research is more akin to consumer market research than political polling. We’re not predicting how people will act; we’re providing the best guide there is on what Americans believe corporations should be prioritizing.

The second, more fundamental observation is that in a world searching for truth, research that objectively elevates public sentiment is a critical element of a healthy functioning democracy.

Overall, it provides guidance. We saw that this week, when leaders from the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, two significant business organizations, aligned with our own public opinion research this week by voicing their support for a smooth transfer of power to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration.

It can also provide hope. Over 80% of Americans believe that a healthy democracy and healthy economy go hand in hand. Even more encouraging, there is clear convergence between what a vast majority of the American people – across generational and ideological divides, income and education levels, race, gender, and more – want corporate America to focus on, and what the CEOs of America’s biggest corporations believe their purpose to be: building a more inclusive, equitable, and robust economy that works for everyone. In that we are truly a United States of America.

Be well,
Martin Whittaker

P.S. There will be no newsletter next week. We wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Amazon donates $3 million to Virginia organizations working to curb evictions.

Home Depot invests an additional $1 billion in expanding worker benefits after exceptionally strong sales.

JPMorgan Chase agrees to pay $800,000 in back pay and set aside $9 million over five years to resolve DOL charges that it has underpaid women.

PayPal partners with Even to provide new benefits, including the ability to receive paychecks in advance during financial stressed times.

Starbucks will give all U.S. employees a pay raise of at least 10%, but some workers demand a$15 minimum wage.

Walmart denies Vermont workers the opportunity to enroll in the state’s hazard pay program.

What’s Happening at JUST

We pen an editorial in Fortune on why business leaders shouldn’t hope for a divided government, and what a better partnership between the public and private sector under the Biden administration could mean for stakeholder capitalism.

JUST, PayPal, and our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative is featured this week in CQ Roll Call’s “Minimum wage seen as too little to aid workers,” as well as in an Agenda Week feature exploring how workforce issues are weighing more heavily on board committees.

As the pandemic grows exponentially, we surface our survey work showing why companies cannot afford to walk back workplace safety measures if they hope to remain in the good graces of public opinion. We also unpack nuanced demographic insights from our annual survey, detailing that unemployed Americans are more skeptical of corporate America’s impact on society.

JUST Events

Register today for The Conference Board’s Employee Financial Well-Being Conference on December 8-9, where Alison Omens will ask: What do your leaders know about workers’ financial wellbeing? This event is complimentary to Conference Board members, if you have questions please reach out to their customer service.

Must-Reads of the Week

With coronavirus cases rising across the country, The New York Times shows that companies have been unwilling to reinstitute hazard pay for workers, despite high profits.

The Hill reports that the Business Roundtable is calling for a national mask mandate and action on a COVID-19 relief bill. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also called on Congress to pass additional pandemic relief.

CNBC highlights comments by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during the DealBook conference where he criticized lawmakers for a months-long deadlock over a second round of coronavirus relief to help unemployed Americans and struggling businesses.

McKinsey frames the case for stakeholder capitalism, arguing that the business ecosystem is evolving and “those who resist will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”

The Wall Street Journal Magazine profiles Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s innovative philanthropy moves during COVID.


Chart of the Week

In our latest Chart of the Week, we show that companies that do right by the environment outperform their peers.

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!