Supermarket Wal-Mart is suffering from an increasingly negative image, according to pollsters Zogby International.

A national survey of American adults, conducted by Zogby International, indicates that 38% of American adults now hold an unfavourable opinion of Wal-Mart. The results of the poll also found that a clear majority of the American public (55 %) have a less favourable opinion of Wal-Mart based on what they have recently seen, heard, or read.

The poll, commissioned by, explored the extent to which, if any, the American people are engaging in the Wal-Mart debate. It measured changing perceptions about Wal-Mart and whether or not it is affecting consumer behaviour.

In terms of favourability, Americans hold very different opinions of Wal-Mart and Target. Interestingly, 73% of respondents hold a favourable opinion of Target versus 13% who hold an unfavourable opinion, while 58% of respondents hold a favourable opinion of Wal-Mart versus 38% who hold an unfavourable opinion.

In terms of Wal-Mart’s favourability, the poll suggests that recent news events have contributed to a clear majority of Americans holding a less favourable opinion of Wal-Mart. By more than a 2 to 1 margin, 55% of adults hold a less favourable opinion of Wal-Mart based on what they have seen, read or heard in the last few months versus 22% who hold a more favourable opinion of Wal-Mart based on the same events.

Respondents said they also think, by a three-to-one margin, that Wal-Mart has suffered a national blow to its image because of the news events over the last year.

And compared to one year ago, a large majority of Americans (65%) agree that Wal-Mart has a more negative public image now than compared to last year, while 28% disagreed. In contrast, and just as a baseline comparison, only 14% of Americans believe that Target’s public image is more negative, while 55% disagreed.

The debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is good or bad for America is occurring. In a comparison of two statements, just over 39% of Americans agreed that Wal-Mart is “good for America” (statement A) while 56% agreed that “Wal-Mart is bad for America” (statement B).

Statement A – I believe that Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day.

Statement B – I believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost for consumers.

Further results indicate that 6 in 10 American adults believe that Wal-Mart is seen as a retail monopoly that threatens the American economy. 63% of Americans agree that the impact of the Wal-Mart business model should be investigated by our nation’s elected political leaders.