Tech pros give President Barack Obama an edge over Gov. Mitt Romney in the upcoming election, according to the findings of a survey conducted by IT career site Dice. However, the study results released Oct. 29 shows that support for the incumbent president has fallen significantly from four years ago.
The poll of more than 2,000 tech professionals conducted Oct. 22 to 25 showed that 45 percent picked President Obama as the candidate who would pay the most attention to their needs, Dice found. That compares with 37 percent who chose Gov. Romney as the most attentive, 5 percent who picked Libertarian Gary Johnson, 1 percent who selected the Green Party's Jill Stein and 12 percent "other."
In 2008, President Obama bested Senator John McCain by a two-to-one margin (63 percent to 27 percent), when Dice asked a similar group about their preference for president. That year, Independent party member Ralph Nader received 4 percent and 6 percent chose other.
"With this election reportedly about jobs, I’m not surprised President Obama stayed ahead in the poll given the relatively stronger job market for technology professionals," Dice Managing Director Alice Hill said in an email. "But I think economic dissatisfaction still comes through in the results—both from the deterioration in Mr. Obama’s level, as well as the jump in 'other' respondents—whose #1 write-in was 'no one.'"
Technology professionals have experienced a relatively good job market in the past two years, with the second-quarter unemployment rate for tech professionals averaging 3.3 percent—well below the national average—not great but still good, Hill pointed out. "Now, in the last recovery, the best quarter was 1.8 percent unemployment [for the tech sector]; the worst quarter in the Great Recession, 6.1 percent," Hill wrote.
How do the current presidential candidates rate when it comes to their positions relative to technology?
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation in September released a comparison of President Obama and Gov. Romney's political stances on technology. ITIF called for innovative policymaking, including corporate tax and regulatory reform, in addition to U.S. investment in R&D, digital infrastructure and skills, according to an article in Government Technology. The organization also recommended the creation of a "bipartisan Washington Innovation Consensus" that would recognize valuable ideas from both parties.
The Government Technology article said: "The report concluded that neither candidate nor political party is correct on every issue and, therefore, ideas from each party should be adopted. Republicans, the report reads, are too focused on limited government contributions to technological development; Democrats are too focused on 'shackling' private American enterprise. A partisan approach to creating technology policy will only hamper the nation, the report suggests. 'Each side has to bend if we are to restore U.S. economic greatness,' the report reads."