Fortune 500 CEOs Favor Clinton over Trump

June 1, 2016, 10:30 AM UTC
Photos by Brendan Smialowski/AFP & John Sommers II — Getty Images

A majority of Fortune 500 CEOs would favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a presidential election, according to a survey conducted last month by Fortune.

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. Some also have been rattled by his stance on immigration, or by his comments showing little understanding of public finance. For instance, Trump told CNBC that if interest rates rose 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 for the government.

The poll, whose full results will be published in the upcoming issue of Fortune magazine, showed that many CEOs are chafing under increased regulation during the Obama administration – 69% said increased regulation was 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. Some 14%—or 71 CEOs—completed the survey. But 16 of the 71 declined to answer the question about the presidential candidates.

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