A recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal asserted that no shareholder proposal on a social or environmental issue has earned a majority vote, presumably counting in this tally those about corporate political activity. This is simply not accurate.
In the last five years alone, 10 proposals about political activity actually have earned support from more than 50 percent of the shares cast for and against; eight of of these votes occurred in 2013 and 2014. Results from the 2015 proxy season are not yet available, but right now investors are set to vote on 68 more proposals–and have already done so at three companies (giving lobbying disclosure proposals 24.5 percent at Monsanto and 39.8 percent at Emerson Electric–and 30.4 percent to a long-running resolution about political spending oversight and disclosure at Emerson).
Attached is a table showing where these votes occurred, as well as –and quite a few more that earned more than 40 percent support. In all, 51 separate votes on these issues since 2010 have garnered support from more than 40 percent of the shares cast.