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Which says a lot, given their traditional leanings

By Alan Murray
June 1, 2016
June 01, 2016

A majority of Fortune 500 CEOs would favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a presidential election, according to our new survey.

The survey, which was sent to all Fortune 500 CEOs, asked which candidate they would favor most as next President of the United States, and gave only the two leading candidates as options. Of those who answered, 58% said Clinton; 42% said Trump.

Big company CEOs tend to lean heavily Republican. But most of the 500 operate on a global scale, and many disagree with Trump’s proposals for raising trade barriers, his stance on immigration, or other comments showing his lack of understanding of the basics of government (Example: Trump saying that if interest rates rise significantly, “we can buy back government debt at a discount”—a statement that ignores the fact that the government would have to borrow money at higher interest rates to buy back old debt, making any such transaction a wash.)

The poll also showed that CEOs are increasingly chafing under the increased regulation of the Obama years. A full 69% cited increased regulation as one of the top three or four challenges facing their company.

Close to half—49%—of the CEOs who answered the survey said they expect the global economy to be “about the same” over the next 12 months as it has been in the last 12 months. Some 31% said it would be better; 20% said it would be worse. The CEOs were more optimistic about their own company’s growth prospects. Fully 70% said they expect to employ more people two years from now than they do today. Only 14% expect to cut employees, while 15% expect no change.

The poll was sent by email to all of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Fourteen percent —or 71 CEOs—completed the survey. But 16 of the 71 declined to answer the question about the presidential candidates.

Separately, nearly 300 regular readers of the CEO Daily took a run at the same polling questions on Friday. Among that group, 69% favored Clinton; 31% Trump. If you want to take the CEO survey, click here.

 

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