Study: Sex/Gender Identity Most Polarizing Issue In U.S. Today

More than half of US consumers (58%) want brands to demonstrate a clear sense of purpose, but the way issues are framed can be politically polarizing, or less so depending on the language used, according to a new study from Revolt, a consultancy that advises clients on purpose-related issues.   

Softer, more “centrist” language was shown in the study to significantly close gaps between the views of left-leaning and right-leaning survey respondents on issues like climate change and LGBTQ+ equality, according to the study, titled “Poking The Bear. “  



The report is based on conversations over 20 ESG professionals and two quantitative surveys of 1,000 U.S. consumers each.   

The research showed that sexuality and gender identity rights is the most politically polarizing issue in the US today, with just 27% of right-leaning voters ranking this issue as important versus 64% of left-leaning voters.   

Climate change was the second most polarizing issue, with 45% of right-leaning respondents saying it was important, compared with 81% of left-leaning respondents.   

However, Revolt’s research showed a much smaller gap regarding climate change with the issue framed as “securing a safe climate for your family’s future.” It then becomes the 5th most important issue among all respondents.  

Five issues increased in importance among right-leaners with more centrist framing: Education, LGBTQ+ equality, air and water pollution, climate change and workers’ rights. And across the full range of issues tested, not only did centrist language perform better with right-leaning respondents, but it was also more appealing to those on the left. 







Freya Williams, a senior strategy executive at US, Revolt, said: “For brands with a purpose mission, winning the war of ideas is critical in progressing action. From Revolt’s research, we can see that moderate language means majority support. While progressive language may seem like a stronger articulation of the cause, it isn’t supporting purposeful action as even Democrat-leaning voters view issues as more important when framed with more moderate language. Brands have the opportunity to use these insights to unite rather than divide Americans.” 

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