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Democrats Face Ideological Split Over Wal-Mart

Attacks on Company May Turn On Liberals, Turn Off Moderates

Several leading Democrats have launched election-year attacks on Wal-Mart, criticizing the company for providing what they say are inadequate wages and employee health care benefits. Yet the party’s rank-and-file is deeply divided in opinions about Wal-Mart, with liberal Democrats taking a much more negative view of the company than do moderate and conservative Democrats.

Most liberal Democrats (53%) have an unfavorable opinion of Wal-Mart, according to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in December. By contrast, 70% of conservative and moderate Democrats – and solid majorities in other political categories – have positive impressions of the world’s largest company.

The complaint that Wal-Mart does too little for its employees may resonate with liberal Democrats. A majority of liberals (53%) say that Wal-Mart is a bad place to work. But this opinion is not shared nearly as widely among conservative and moderate Democrats; only about a third (35%) say that Wal-Mart is a bad place to work, while 57% view it as a good place to work.

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