Americans in Favor of Limiting Use of Plastic Straws

Ipsos/BuzzFeed News poll shows more support for businesses making the choice on straws than government ban

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, August 24, 2018 - Controversy over the use of plastic straws has stirred significant debate in recent months. An Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll found that most Americans (59%) would prefer to always receive a plastic drinking straw when they order a beverage at a fast food restaurant, and half (50%) would prefer to always receive one at a sit-down restaurant. Three-quarters (74%) Americans also report that they have used at least one plastic straw in the past week. A vast majority (78%) are familiar with recent efforts to ban plastic straws in places across America.

Despite widespread use of plastic straws, most Americans are open to limiting their circulation. Four in ten (41%) report that they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue. Nearly half (48%) support local governments banning the use of plastic straws. However, there is a partisan split in this support, as Democrats (56%) are more likely than Republicans (41%) to support local governments banning the use of plastic straws. The majorities of both Republicans (76%) and Democrats (76%) support businesses choosing only to provide plastic straws on request, and 8 in 10 Americans (79%) also support businesses choosing only to provide biodegradable straws.

Similar to the local government ban, there are differing beliefs about the impact of plastic straw-use. Republicans (55%) are more likely than Democrats (33%) to believe that getting rid of straws will not have any major impact. Republicans are also much more inclined to believe that the government should not be involved in if they can use plastic straws (72% vs. 42% of Democrats). 

About this Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted August 14-16, 2018, on behalf of Buzzfeed News. For the survey, a sample of roughly 2,009 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 730 Republicans, 658 Democrats, and 411 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,009, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4 percentage points). 

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for Republicans, 4.4 percentage points for Democrats, and 5.5 for Independents.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or 
contact us.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.


The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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