Poll: Large US firms facing image problem

Large U.S. corporations are dealing with an image problem over their ability to create jobs at home, according to a new poll.

A Gallup poll released on Tuesday shows that 66 percent of those asked said that large U.S. companies do a good job creating jobs for workers in the countries where they do business.

But far fewer, 43 percent, of those asked say the companies create good jobs for Americans.

The lack of job-creating confidence is likely the reason why small businesses have gotten much better grades than larger firms in the past.

In previous polls, 65 percent have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in small business compared with 22 percent who have a similar confidence in big business, one of the lowest ratings of any group Gallup has examined.

All told, only 44 percent say they are helping grow the U.S. economy and only 43 percent say they are balancing the best interests of the U.S. and Americans with the best interests of the company.

Meanwhile, many business groups representing large U.S. companies are spearheading efforts to strike new trade deals around the world in an effort to create jobs at home.

There are two massive deals in the works — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — that larger businesses argue will boost hiring and help grow the U.S. economy.

The TPP has hit a snag with congressional Democrats who are arguing that the trade pact could, instead, cost U.S. jobs and damage wage growth. 

But, overall, expanding trade has gotten mostly positive responses in a variety of other polls. 

Tuesday's poll concludes that U.S. companies face the challenge of improving their image at home by convincing Americans that "they are the backbone of the U.S. economy as much as they are economies overseas."

To change the negative perception, "large businesses clearly need to document the degree to which they are behind many of the innovations and products that grow the U.S. economy," the poll said. 

"They also need to remind the public that growth among large companies usually leads to development in the small businesses that supply them and that small businesses gain when large companies increase workforces," the poll said.

On a positive note, 79 percent said that big companies do a good job of creating important new products and technologies.

Poll respondents were almost evenly divided as to how well large companies promote U.S. values and ideals worldwide (49%) and the job they do protecting the environment (48%).

But the other areas where a majority give large companies "good" ratings both have to do with their contributions overseas where 56 percent said they do a good job creating better lives for people in communities outside the U.S. where the companies do business.

These data are based on a Gallup survey with 1,005 U.S. adults conducted April 30-May 1.