Two weeks after we published our survey asking which presidential candidate would be best for the construction industry, the results are in. The candidate on top, by a tight margin, is Hillary Clinton.
Clinton secured 50.48% of the votes, followed by Donald Trump with 46.11% and "Other" with 3.42%.
Reasons from survey respondents
Along with choosing a candidate, we also asked survey respondents to tell us the reason they chose that particular candidate. The answers ranged from factors involving experience, temperament and business savvy. Several respondents who chose Clinton referenced her strong union ties and her support for prevailing wage requirements. One respondent wrote, "Hillary has had a long-standing relationship with organized labor that has been positive for the entire industry."
Others cited Clinton's economic and infrastructure plans. "She will keep the economy up, spurring growth and development," one person said. Another wrote that Clinton "support(s) skill training, (has a) broad based infrastructure plan that is paid for, supports high efficiency grid and commercial, industrial, residential incentives for energy retrofits, supports payment to subs."
Survey respondents who chose Trump largely referenced his experience in the construction and real estate industries. "With his experience in real estate, I think Trump would be more likely to understand the importance of investing in America's construction and infrastructure," one person said. Others pointed to his promises to roll back regulations and cut corporate taxes. "Smaller government, lower taxes, reduction in regulations will stimulate both private and public construction investment," a respondent wrote.
In the "Other" category, 3.42% of respondents wrote in their own choice, with most suggesting Bernie Sanders or Gary Johnson as alternatives. One person said, "Anyone other than either of these two."
The fact that Clinton, the Democratic candidate, came out on top in the survey came as somewhat of a surprise, as the construction industry traditionally leans Republican. So far this 2016 election cycle, the industry has donated $66,752,888 to candidates — with 69% to Republicans and 30% to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The reference to Clinton's union support was expected, as North America's Building Trades Union — an alliance of 14 national and international unions — endorsed Clinton in December, soon after she announced her transportation plan. Clinton has said she will roll out her five-year, $275 billion infrastructure plan to Congress within the first 100 days of her first term.
Earlier this month, Trump said that if elected, he would "at least double" the amount of investment in infrastructure proposed by Clinton. Trump's plan relies on bonds to fund major projects, while Clinton's involves establishing a national infrastructure bank.
Trump's calls to slash government regulations have come as welcome news to construction companies. Earlier this month, he told the National Association of Home Builders Directors that if elected, he would eliminate any regulations that "kill jobs" and reduce income taxes on businesses to 15%. A top economic advisor to Clinton addressed the same NAHB Board of Directors and emphasized that housing would be a priority for Clinton's administration.
With less than three months left before Election Day, there's still a lot that can happen to sway construction groups and professionals toward one candidate. We'll keep you posted on all the newest developments from each presidential candidate that could impact the construction industry.