Greenwich, CT (Oct. 13)— CEOs prefer Mitt Romney as the GOP’s presidential candidate next November, according to an exclusive poll from ChiefExecutive.net. Over 43 percent of CEOs chose Romney as their preferred candidate while 25.6 percent chose another CEO candidate, Herman Cain.
Romney and Cain are the two clear front-runners, followed by John Huntsman, who received 8.1 percent of CEO support. Newt Gingrich received 7.3 percent of the vote, Rick Perry had 5.1 percent, Ron Paul had 2.6 percent, Rick Santorum had 2.1 percent and Michelle Bachmann took just 0.9%.
Though the CEO vote in itself isn’t enough to change the outcome of elections, it is extremely important. With immense influence, powerful donor networks and their own cash for campaign contributions, any candidate with the backing of America’s CEOs will have an advantage over the other candidates.
In the Republican field, three candidates have CEO experience. Mitt Romney served as co-founder and general partner of Bain Capital, CEO of Bain & Company and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. Herman Cain served as CEO of Godfathers Pizza. Jon Huntsman is the son of the founder of the multi-billion revenue conglomerate Huntsman Corp. and served as CEO of his family’s investment company.
CEOs prefer Romney and they believe that he will also appeal to the full Republican base: 79.2 percent believe Romney will take the GOP nomination. All other candidates trail far behind Romney; 10.3 percent think Perry is most likely to take the Republican nomination and 6.4 percent think Herman Cain will make his way onto the ballot.
Governor Perry’s favor has dropped significantly since ChiefExecutive.net’s September poll where 49.2 percent of CEOs thought Perry would take the nomination and 27.9 percent of CEOs preferred Perry as the GOP’s presidential candidate. CEOs ranked Texas as the best state for business in Chief Executive’s 2011 Best/Worst States for Business.
For now it seems clear: CEOs want Mitt Romney to be on the ballot next November.