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CEOs Pick Their Best and Worst Presidential Candidates for Business

According to a recent survey by Chief Executive magazine, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the best and Arizona Senator …

According to a recent survey by Chief Executive magazine, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the best and Arizona Senator John McCain is the worst Republican presidential candidates for business, while Illinois Senator Barack Obama is the best and New York Senator Hillary Clinton is the worst Democratic presidential candidates for business. 

The survey, which asked 258 C-level executives to vote for each party’s presidential candidates regardless of their affiliation, found that 43 percent of the respondents rated Obama as the best Democratic candidate and 34 percent rated Romney as the best Republican candidate for business. 

“Regardless of a CEO’s party affiliation, the survey indicates that CEOs don’t find any presidential candidate overwhelmingly inspiring at this time,” said Edward M. Kopko, CEO of Chief Executive Group. ” They are looking for real leadership and common sense solutions on important issues, such as tax, fiscal and energy policies, healthcare plans, and the war on terror rather than populist political rhetoric” 

Voicing their dismay over the heightened partisanship on the Hill, leaders underscored the fact that “politics instead of government was not smart.”

“We are in the grips of a very polarized political situation where nothing gets done, as the two parties spend their energy in posturing and trying to gain advantage for 2008. I do not see anyone on either side making significant changes to this situation post-2008,” said Robert W. Zinnecker of Zinnecker Consulting Services. 

As business leaders’ confidence in both parties seems to dwindle, the survey also revealed an unexpected finding: Thirty-three percent of CEOs align themselves with “independents.” 

“The Democrats have become the party of unrest and seem committed to destroying the country as we know it with unfettered immigration, and the Republicans have lost their backbone and conservative tenets.  We need a strong Independent candidate [not Bloomberg] who can provide fiscal leadership at home and abroad,” said one CEO.

When asked about the issues that are most important during this election, 35 percent of business leaders responded that the single most important issue was the war on terror, with overall tax policy and healthcare policy coming second and third, respectively. That said, survey respondents also indicated that the issues that will drive their decision for the next presidential candidate may not reflect what they consider to be the most important issues for America. In fact, business leaders indicated they favor certain positions by opposing party candidates, which could result in cross party affiliation and heighten the need for an independent candidate to enter the Presidential race.

Kopko added, “Contrary to vastly oversimplified depictions in the media and by certain politicians, the CEO community is a diverse group when it comes to political issues. They do not suffer from the debilitating partisanship that keeps many people from honest and productive political discourse.”

About Chief Executive magazine

Chief Executive is a controlled circulation magazine that has been published since 1977. It reaches 42,000 chief executive officers and their peers, making the total readership 228,000. hief Executive Group facilitates “Chief Executive of the Year,” a prestigious honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of his or her peers. Robert Ulrich, A. G. Lafley, George David, Fred Smith, Bill Gates, John Chambers, Michael Dell and Sandy Weill are just some of the leaders who have been honored during the award’s 22-year history. Chief Executive also organizes roundtable meetings and conferences to foster opportunities for top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers. 

With which party would you affiliate yourself in the upcoming presidential election?

Democratic

 13%

Independent

 33%

Republican

 54%

Of each of the candidates from the major parties who do you think would be the best and worst for American business?

Best Democrat

 Barack Obama

Worst Democrat

 Hillary Clinton

Best Republican

 Mitt Romney

Worst Republican

 John McCain

What issues are most important for you in this election?

War on Terror / Iraq35% 
Trade Policy3%
Overall Tax Policy17%
Healthcare Policy12%
Fiscal Policy11%
Entitlements (Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid)9%
Energy Policy10%
Education1%
Defense3%

About Chief Executive

Chief Executive magazine provides global economy coverage, business and technology news, information on upcoming events, and executive life.