IT workers are evenly split between Barack Obama and John McCain as their choice for the next president of the United States, according to a new survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association and Rasmussen Reports.
The survey of IT workers, taken in early March, shows Obama and McCain in a dead heat, with each receiving 39 percent of the vote, and Hillary Clinton trailing at 13 percent.
The survey also shows that while 35 percent of IT workers identify themselves as Republicans and another 26 percent call themselves Democrats, 40 percent chose no party affiliation. An overwhelming majority-75 percent-put themselves in the conservative-moderate political spectrum.
"The findings illuminate a potent political force, which the campaigns have to reckon with," Roger Cochetti, group director of U.S. public policy for CompTIA, said in a statement. "We've all seen the presidential hopefuls stop in Silicon Valley, stumping for votes. From the survey, we get an empirical sense why all that attention-IT workers matter because they're bright, well-paid and most importantly, they can swing their vote."
According to CompTIA, there are more than 12 million IT workers in the United States-more than miners, farmers and construction workers combined. The CompTIA numbers reveal that the IT work force is mostly white (74 percent), male (77 percent) and more than 80 percent make between $60,000 and $100,000 or more.
"It's clearly a large and well-off group of independent-minded voters, whose loyalty is up for grabs," Cochetti said.
Almost 40 percent of the survey respondents listed the economy as the top issue in the presidential race, followed by the war in Iraq (18 percent), immigration (15 percent) and national security (14 percent). More respondents (6 percent) chose government ethics and corruption over health care (4 percent).
As for the main factor in supporting a presidential candidate, the CompTIA survey shows specific policies as the top category at 27 percent, followed vision (25 percent), experience (16 percent) and values (12 percent). Only 1 percent cited interest in the tech sector.