The study, which was conducted by international law firm DLA Piper, surveyed thousands of entrepreneurs, consultants, venture capitalists, CEOs, CFOs, and other C-level officers at technology companies, asking them their opinions about the 2012 presidential election and the issues facing their particular industry.
In 2008, the numbers were heavily in favor of Obama, with 60 percent of respondents saying then-Sen. Obama would be better for the sector than the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain. Four years later however, and the numbers have completely switched: The majority of respondents said Mitt Romney would be better with the technology industry, with 64 percent favoring the former governor from Massachusetts, and only 41 percent favoring the incumbent president. (The reason the percentages don’t add up is because respondents were allowed to choose more than one option.)
If Obama can hang his hat on any statistic however, it’s this: Despite their preference for Romney, 76 percent of all respondents said Obama will win the November election.
The study revealed more details into the thoughts, feelings and fears of the technology sector. Giving credence to the notion that Romney and other Republicans are gaining ground in the traditionally-Democratic Silicon Valley, many respondents of this study reported concerns about tax policy and regulation. In particular, 60 percent of respondents said letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire would have a negative effect on the sector, while 33 percent believed the expiration of these cuts would have no effect on technology investment.
Members of the industry also voiced their concerns about patent reform, lawsuits and immigration, too, with regulation being the biggest concern by far among respondents.
Despite these issues and concerns, however, most respondents of the survey reported feeling optimistic about their business’ chance of succeeding in the industry. Of those polled, 55 percent said they expect a “moderate increase” in sales over the next year, with 16 percent looking forward to a “significant increase” in revenue. This is probably the biggest jump from 2008, when 70 percent of survey respondents said they expected layoffs and plummeting revenues.
It’s amazing what four years can do: Now, DLA Piper’s new survey shows that 50 percent of respondents expect a “moderate increase” in hiring over the next year, with 10 percent expecting a “significant increase in hiring.” Sixteen percent of participants said sales would likely hold steady, and 27 percent said they expected no change in hiring numbers.
Finally, DLA Piper also surveyed the general outlook for the industry, and how optimistic or pessimistic that would be. According to the survey, participants believe the “worst of the recession is over” and the economy is “settling in for a period of steady but slow growth.”
The full report is embedded below, complete with methodology, graphs and results. Who do you think would be better for the technology industry?