Despite Twitter's turmoil, Americans haven't changed their views on Elon Musk's purchase

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
November 17, 2022, 2:49 PM GMT+0

Elon Musk's first few weeks as owner and CEO of Twitter have been tumultuous. Musk has issued massive layoffs, introduced — and withdrawn — a new paid system of user verification, and sparred with employees and others on the platform he is attempting to save from financial despair. Yet recent Economist/YouGov polling finds that views of his decision to buy the company have shifted little since April, when his intent to purchase was first announced. As for how he has handled his role as CEO thus far, roughly even shares of Americans — and of Twitter users — say they approve and disapprove of his performance.

Net approval of Musk's purchase of Twitter — meaning the percentage-point difference between the share who approve and the share who disapprove — is currently +10 among Americans overall and +10 among Twitter users. Net approval is far higher among Republicans (+61) than among Democrats (-24). When Musk's intention to acquire the company was first announced in April, net approval of the attempted purchase was roughly the same among Americans overall (+13) and somewhat lower than it is now among Twitter users (+3).

Twitter users are roughly evenly divided on Musk's performance as CEO thus far: 41% strongly or somewhat approve while 39% strongly or somewhat disapprove. Republican Twitter users are largely supportive of Musk's performance as CEO, with 68% approving of his handling of the job and just 15% disapproving. Democratic Twitter users, on the other hand, are less likely to approve (30%) than to disapprove (59%).

Age plays a determining factor in how Democrats evaluate Musk's performance as CEO of Twitter. Older Democrats are far more critical of him than younger Democrats are. Just 7% of Democrats 65 and older strongly or somewhat approve of his performance, compared to 41% of Democratic adults under 45. Age does not play a decisive role in Republicans' evaluations of Musk: Majorities of all age groups approve of the job he is doing.

– Carl Bialik contributed to this article

Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on November 13 - 15, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Getty (Michael Gonzalez / Stringer)