As part of our most recent Construction Industry Confidence Index survey (CICI), ENR conducted an election poll asking which candidate would be better for the construction industry. Of the 378 executives polled, 71.2% said Romney was the better choice, 14.8% said Obama was the better choice, and 14.0% declined to answer.
Many execs said their choice was ideological, with some claiming Obama is anti-business and others questioning Romney's leadership ability. However, many execs focused on markets. "The public sector will see more work under Obama, [and] the private sector will see more work under Romney," said one undecided exec, who asked not to be named because he is unauthorized to speak on behalf of his firm.
However, many executives argued that if Romney were to win, there would be more of a willingness to invest in projects from many major financial institutions that have remained on the sidelines during the recession.
Many executives said they admit that any president's direct role in enhancing the construction market is limited. "However, regulatory creep comes directly from the president," says the president of a midsize general contractor and a Romney supporter. He says a second Obama term could mean more costly and burdensome regs for the industry.
Several execs, on the other hand, say the election results will not make a major difference. An economic turnaround "will take a collaborative, cooperative effort by both Congress and the president, regardless of party affiliation," says an executive at a large engineering firm. However, he is not optimistic either party will put aside their political differences to work on ensuring a strong economy and construction market.