To better understand how the construction industry views the upcoming presidential election, we surveyed licensed contractors registered on BuildZoom. Contractors showed a clear preference for Mitt Romney: nearly 3/4 of respondents felt that he would have a more positive impact on the construction industry and more generally speaking, make a better president.
The survey was designed to understand contractor’s perspectives on several major questions:
1. Which candidate would have a more positive influence on the economy?
Contractors were asked to select which candidate they trusted to handle several key areas of the economy: job creation, taxation, the budget deficit and general economic growth. Contractors showed a consistent preference for Mitt Romney in all four areas:
2. Who would make a better president?
When asked who would make a better US president, nearly 3/4 of respondents indicated their support for Mitt Romney:
Respondents were asked to justify their response and closer content analysis of their responses revealed two major themes amongst Romney supporters. First, contractors generally felt that Romney had more business experience, which would translate into better results for the US economy. According to Steve Vander Vies, President of Vander Vies Construction, “Romney would be a better president because of his business sense. Obama has no business experience at all. He has been on the taxpayers payroll his entire life and the thing he does best is spend (our) tax dollars.”
Second, contractors were driven by general dissatisfaction with Obama. One respondent noted, “I am not saying (Romney) is the right one. I am simply voting against Obama.” The following word cloud was generated from the open-ended responses from Romney supporters and indicates a consistent focus on Obama’s weaknesses (as opposed to Romney’s strengths).
Pro-Obama contractors pointed to Obama’s character while also expressing their belief in Obama’s empathy for the middle class. Several respondents also expressed concern with Romney’s “Wall Street” background: “Character, character, character. Who would trust a corporate raider with the presidency?” The following word cloud represents open-ended responses from pro-Obama contractors:
3. How has the Recovery Act helped the construction industry?
Contractors were also asked to evaluate how the Recovery Act has benefited the construction industry. Nearly half (47%) reported that the Recovery Act hasn’t helped at all while 33% responded that it has helped “a little.”
A majority of contractors (77%) reported that they had not been provided with enough information on how to take advantage of Recovery Act opportunities. The general sentiment seemed to be that the Recovery Act primarily helped larger businesses. According to one respondent, “I need more information about how it can help a small construction business. I know it has helped put laborers back to work for the big prime contractors and mid size contractors.”
Overall, remodeling and construction contractors are intently keeping an eye on the upcoming elections. Although there are some indications the industry is improving, the close tie between the industry and the economy as a whole, has contractors paying close attention to the upcoming elections. As Ryan Schreen, Owner of Landmark Cast Stone explains, ”Although each presidential election is important, the upcoming vote is particularly paramount in shaping the next 4 years as a small business owner. The key platform issues like healthcare reform, tax rates, policies affecting access to capital and loans, and governmental regulation will have a direct impact on economic stimulation and the health of the entrepreneurial/small business sectors. In order to survive, we need to make our voices heard in Washington and cast our votes with a lens on the aforementioned issues.”
About the survey
The survey represents feedback from 237 licensed contractors, registered on BuildZoom. Respondents were asked to indicate the size of their company (by number of employees) and party affiliation:
Update (10/4/2012) – We have been getting several questions about our selection methodology, particularly regarding the uneven distribution of respondents by political affiliation. To clarify, the goal of the research project was to focus on political perspectives of contractors (not necessarily an even sampling of registered republican contractors and registered democrat contractors). The research showed a skew in terms of party affiliation, which was part of what we were trying to assess. According to the data, the industry itself skews republican/independent compared to the general population.
Additionally, contractors were asked to indicate the state they are registered to vote in. The following keyword cloud helps explain the regional breakdown of survey respondents:
Coverage of this story:
- Compact Equipment Online (10/4/2012) – The Construction Industry Favors Romney in the Upcoming Presidential Election
- Global Economic Intersection (10/4/2012) - Survey: Construction Contractors Favor Romney
- Home Channel News (10/3/2012) - Obama or Romney? Contractors express their views