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90 Percent of CEOs Expect Romney to Be GOP Nominee, but Only 44 Percent Say He is 1st Choice

When asked which GOP candidate is most likely to take the nomination, 89.4% of CEOs expect that Mitt Romney will end up on the ballot. Though Romney is still the most popular candidate among CEOs, nowhere near 90% favor him over all the rest. Just under 44% (43.9%) favor Romney, but 17.5% like Gingrich, 12.3% Huntsman and 10.7% are going for Santorum.

Since the beginning of this presidential election season, Mitt Romney has been a likely candidate to take the Republican nomination in 2012. He has most consistently been the candidate to beat, and our CEOs recognize that.

In January, 89.4 percent of surveyed CEOs said that Mitt Romney is the candidate most likely to take the GOP nomination. The next closest candidate is Rick Santorum with 4.2% and Newt Gingrich with 3.9%.

This is a large jump from December when 60.6 percent thought the nomination would go to Romney and 33.4 percent thought the nomination would go to New Gingrich.

Though most CEOs think that Romney will appear on the November ballot, fewer choose Romney as their candidate of choice. The list of favored candidates is as follows:

  1. Romney – 43.9%
  2. Gingrich – 17.5%
  3. Huntsman – 12.3%
  4. Santorum – 10.7%
  5. Paul – 6.4%
  6. Other – 5.2%
  7. Perry – 2.5%
  8. Cain – 1.2%
  9. Bachmann – 0.3%

Following Romney’s win in New Hampshire, it seems likely that these numbers will strengthen.  CEOs have been vulnerable to swings of support; CEOs supported Perry, Cain and Gingrich when their campaigns were riding high. It will be interesting to see, however, whether CEO support for Ron Paul strengthens after his second place finish in NH.

Most of our CEOs have made it clear that they would like to see a leadership change in Washington, and that such a change is necessary to move our economy forward. One CEO said, “Legislation for 2012 and likely presidential candidate will dictate market activity. Many companies are watching primary results.”

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