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EXCLUSIVE: Republicans Show Stronger Support For Reining In Big Tech, Poll Shows

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Ailan Evans Associate Editor
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Republicans are more likely than Democrats to back certain reforms targeting major tech companies like Amazon, Google and Apple, including a key bipartisan antitrust bill, according to a new poll.

There is a bipartisan consensus among voters in Republican-heavy Iowa to update legislation to hold tech companies accountable, though more Republicans than Democrats back measures curbing abuses of power by large technology firms and strengthening laws to keep markets competitive, according to the results of a poll by Data For Progress shared exclusively with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

On specific legislation, 87% of Republicans say they at least somewhat support the American Innovation and Choice Online (AICO) Act, introduced by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, compared to 65% of Democrats. However, just 18% of Democrats say they strongly support the bill, compared to 54% of Republicans.

The AICO Act seeks to prevent dominant online platforms from prioritizing their own services in search results or through algorithmic manipulation, and aims to stop platforms from discriminating against competitors. Proponents of the bill say it would help small businesses compete with online platforms’ own product lines in digital marketplaces.

Data For Progress Iowa Poll by Daily Caller News Foundation on Scribd

Similarly, 56% of Republicans compared to 40% of Democrats say they strongly support “right to repair” laws, which allow consumers a greater degree of control over how and where their products, including smartphones and other devices, can be repaired.

However, 73% of Democrats say they strongly support updating online privacy laws to protect children, compared to 66% of Republicans, and a larger share of Democrats back Facebook making its research on social media’s harms to its users public information. (RELATED: Rep. Ken Buck Says Antitrust Bills Tackle Big Tech’s ‘Fundamental’ Problems)

Democrats also back policymakers taking action against the spread of “false or misleading information” in greater numbers, with 93% saying the government should be doing more about misinformation compared to 74% of Republicans.

Iowan Republicans are more likely to say that executives of large tech companies wield too much political influence, with 84% of Republicans saying they were concerned over donations like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ $100 million gift to the Obama Foundation, compared to just 24% of Democrats. In terms of general political influence, 89% of Republicans say executives of major tech firms have too much influence on policy, compared to 79% of Democrats.

Republicans also tend to be more concerned with the effects of major tech companies on small businesses, with 72% of Republicans saying they are very concerned with large tech firms harming small businesses by “stealing their ideas and customers” compared to 56% of Republicans. Republicans also were more concerned with data privacy and online censorship than Democrats.

The poll was conducted from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13, 2021, and surveyed 770 likely Iowan voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

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