The footwear industry is split when it comes to choosing the next U.S. president.
In an online poll conducted by Footwear News last month, half of respondents said they planned to vote for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November, while 49 percent said they intended to cast their vote for President Barack Obama. One percent said they planned to vote for Ron Paul.
By comparison, 55 percent of participants said they voted for Obama in the 2008 election, while 45 percent cast their ballot for John McCain.
Vendors appeared to be more firmly in Romney’s camp than retailers, with 59 percent of vendors saying they would vote for the former Massachusetts governor. Among retailers, Obama took the lead, with 53 percent saying they would vote for him.
When it comes to the performance of the current president, 51 percent of vendors said they had an unfavorable view of the president’s policies and their direct impact on the footwear industry, while only 32 percent of retailers viewed the president’s policies as unfavorable to the industry.
More agreement, however, was found when respondents were asked what they would like the next president to make as his first priority. Ninety-one percent of participants want the next commander in chief to concentrate on the economy and job creation. The remaining 9 percent cited energy, the environment, education and immigration as key areas for the next president to tackle.
Participants also agreed about the significance of the upcoming election. Eighty-nine percent of industry respondents said the next election was “very important” to the future of the country, while 10 percent said it was of equal importance as any other presidential election. One percent called the election unimportant.
A common theme was also struck when participants were asked what the next president should do specifically to help the footwear industry. In the open-ended question, respondents said in various forms that they would like the administration to assist domestic footwear production. “Encourage factories to open in the U.S.,” one said. Another added, “Promote domestic manufacturing.”
Outside of the presidential race, respondents were more decisive when casting votes for Congress. Fifty-one percent of participants said they wanted to see a Republican-controlled Congress in 2013, while 45 percent would prefer a Democratic Congress. Four percent were either unsure, preferred a divided Congress, or didn’t want to see either party exert control over the legislative branch of government.
Of those polled, 34 percent identified themselves as Democrats, while 33 percent said they considered themselves Independents and 31 percent identified as Republicans. Two percent cited an “other” political affiliation.