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The Disney Dilemma: How a Childhood Titan Could Impact the 2024 GOP Primary

It seems like a political misstep to pick a fight with the much-loved Walt Disney Co., a company associated with magic, wonder, and the American dream. But data from a recent campaign reveals a surprising twist: For some GOP primary voters, opposition to the entertainment behemoth might actually be a political advantage.

In a recent closed-door donor meeting, revealing data was presented suggesting that Disney might not be as popular among GOP primary voters as we might think. Internal polling data showed an unfavorable net rating for Disney among these voters, reaching as high as -45% in certain key states.

What accounts for this sentiment? It appears there’s a substantial disconnect between these voters’ perception of Disney and the general public’s view. Some even suggest that Disney+ content and media representation are alienating this demographic.

These primary voters tend to lean conservative and, in the wake of the 2016 election, increasingly populist. As such, they often harbor negative views of large corporations, and Disney is no exception. The entertainment giant is seen by some as the “800-pound gorilla of kid’s content,” often criticized for not representing traditional family values.

Notably, this Disney discontent seems to have permeated the current political landscape. Prominent figures in both Democratic and Republican camps have criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his ongoing, high-profile conflict with Disney. The dispute, revolving around a controversial education law, has prompted a series of retaliatory actions, with the governor attempting to revoke certain privileges Disney has enjoyed in Florida for years, and Disney pushing back to maintain its influence.

The dispute has far-reaching implications, affecting Florida’s economy, political landscape, and potentially even the outcome of the 2024 GOP nomination. One thing is clear though: Despite all the controversy, DeSantis is standing firm, reiterating that he’s not backing down from his stance.

Interestingly, independent polls suggest that this Disney conflict might be a strategic move for DeSantis. Recent surveys indicate a majority of Republicans support the governor’s efforts to curtail Disney’s influence in Florida. However, it’s crucial to remember that the primary doesn’t represent the entirety of the electorate, and what resonates with primary voters might not align with the broader population’s view.

This Disney dispute hasn’t dented donor enthusiasm. In fact, DeSantis’s campaign has seen significant financial support, raising $8.2 million within the first 24 hours of launching. In comparison, President Joe Biden’s campaign raised $6.3 million during the same period when he announced his run in 2019.

What does this mean for the political landscape? Well, it seems the Disney issue isn’t winning traction for those aiming to use it to undermine DeSantis. The campaign’s data suggests this might not be a successful strategy for other candidates.

It’s clear that in the complex political landscape of the 2024 GOP Primary, Disney has become a surprisingly significant player. Whether it will be a stepping stone or a stumbling block for candidates remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s certainly making for a more intriguing and less predictable race.