It has been more than two weeks since Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued a "respectful request" for customers to stop bringing guns into his company's coffee shops, and the response by and large has been one of courteous compliance.
Considering how polarized and emotional America's gun debates usually get, some people were sure Starbucks was in for weeks of controversy. "The backlash and boycott talk has already begun," reported the Los Angeles Times the day Schultz's open letter appeared. Entrepreneur.com's Ray Hennessey, an experienced business editor, warned that Starbucks risked "alienating a large portion of its customer base."
That didn't happen. And to judge from a new nationwide survey, it isn't going to.
Asked about the Starbucks no-guns request in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, two of every three respondents — 66 percent — call it a good idea. Even among individuals from gun-owning households, 52 percent support Starbucks' position. The overwhelming majority, 72 percent, say it won't make any difference in where they get their coffee. The scale of that placid response is the same across every demographic subgroup: Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Northeasterners and Southerners, city-dwellers and rural residents — and, yes, gun owners — all say by lopsided majorities that Starbucks' shift on guns isn't going to change their economic behavior.
For the record, I've long been a Starbucks customer. I've been a supporter of gun rights for even longer. I often find myself in the minority on political or cultural questions, but on this I share the mainstream view: I have no problem with Schultz's request, and my coffee-buying habits won't change.