Econintersect: BuildZoom.com, a contractor search and information site with more than 2 million construction contractors registered and rated, conducted a survey of 237 licensed contractors registered with the site. The results found 74% favored Romney for president and 26% Obama. More than 2/3 of the respondents came from sole proprietor companies or those with 1-5 employees. Only 12% of the respondents were registered Democrats while 55% declared their party to be Republican (49%), Tea Party or Libertarian. The remaining respondents (33%) declared themselves to be Independent.
The responses to various economic questions appear to extremely uniform, as shown in the following graphic:
The survey included open-ended statement opportunities. Those response were processed to produce word clouds for Romney supporters and for Obama supporters.
Romney Supporters' Word Cloud
Obama Supporters' Word Cloud
For both candidates the opponent's name was more often mentioned than the candidate supported. From the BuildZoom blog:
Respondents were asked to justify their response and closer content analysis of their responses revealed two major themes amongst Romney supporters. First, contractors generally felt that Romney had more business experience, which would translate into better results for the US economy. According to Steve Vander Vies, President of Vander Vies Construction,“Romney would be a better president because of his business sense. Obama has no business experience at all. He has been on the taxpayers payroll his entire life and the thing he does best is spend (our) tax dollars.”
Second, contractors were driven by general dissatisfaction with Obama. One respondent noted, “I am not saying (Romney) is the right one. I am simply voting against Obama.” The following word cloud was generated from the open-ended responses from Romney supporters and indicates a consistent focus on Obama’s weaknesses (as opposed to Romney’s strengths).
Not mentioned on the blog was the same pattern from Obama supporters who mentioned Romney's name more than the candidate they supported. It appears that negative is flowing both ways.
It is unfortunate that the survey did not determine how the respondents voted in the last election. Therefore there is no basis for determining if there has been a shift in voting pattern in this group from 2008.
If it is assumed that the split among those who were other than Independents was 55% Romney and 12% Obama, then the inferred split of the Independent vote would be 19% Romney and 14% Obama. If such a split occurred in the general population the election (popular vote) would be very close, which is what polls are showing. According to USA Today Democrats have a 40% registration advantage over Republicans (ratio of 42/30) and the 19/14 advantage among Independents in the contractors' survey is only 36% in favor of Romney.
Of course this survey is an informal, non-scientific effort. But it is interesting that a little analysis and interpretation comes up with a result indicating the national popular vote is looking to be very close, even using the results of this survey of 237 construction contractors.
- Construction industry favors Romney in upcoming presidential election (Build Zoom Talk, 03 October 2012)
- Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves (Richard Wolf, USA Today, 22 December 2012)