IT Workers Split On Presidential Candidates, But Give Money To Campaigns

Barack Obama and John McCain would each receive 29% of the vote if the election were held today, a CompTIA-sponsored phone survey of 600 IT workers found.
IT workers are a politically independent group split on who they'd pick as the next U.S. President, according to a new report released on Tuesday by industry organization CompTIA.

A recent phone survey of 600 IT workers, conducted by Rasmussen Reports for CompTIA, revealed that Barack Obama and John McCain would each receive 29% of the vote "if the 2008 Presidential election were held today." The survey was conducted between Feb. 20 and March 3.

Of the other major candidates, Hillary Clinton received 13% of the votes; Mike Huckabee garnered 11%; Ron Paul got 9%. Nine percent of IT workers said they were unsure who they'd vote for.

Thirty-nine percent of IT workers say most important issue facing the next President is the economy, followed by the Iraq war (18%); immigration (15%); national security (14%); government ethics and corruption (6%); health care (4%); and Social Security (1%). Only 2% said "other" and another 2% were unsure.

Among of the surprises in the survey's findings are the general profile of U.S. workers who identify themselves as IT workers, said Roger Cochetti, CompTIA group director of U.S. public policy. The majority of IT workers surveyed -- 40% -- said they were not affiliated with either the Republican or Democrat political parties. Thirty-five percent said they were Republicans and 26% said they were Democrats.

Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said they considered themselves politically "conservative," 36% said they are "moderate," 24% said they are "liberal," and only 2% were unsure.

Also, 27% of IT workers said they contributed to a Presidential campaign via the Internet, which is a "much higher percentage" than the average of all U.S. workers who contribute to a Presidential campaign, said Cochetti. Government election data shows that only about 2.5% of U.S. workers contribute $200 or more to U.S. Presidential campaigns, said Cochetti. The CompTIA survey did not ask IT workers the dollar amount of their campaign contributions. Based on the sample of workers surveyed by Rasmussen on behalf of CompTIA, the industry organization estimates that there are about 12 million people in the U.S. over the age of 18 who identify themselves as IT workers. That figure is about four-times higher than the approximate 3 million workers classified as IT professionals by the U.S. Department of Labor based on "narrow definitions," such as computer programmers and computer engineers, said Cochetti.

Over the last six months, Rasmussen has surveyed about 54,500 U.S. workers over the age of 18, asking them to identify whether they are IT workers. Rasmussen's finding indicate that one of 12 U.S. workers, or about 8.13%, identify themselves as IT workers. When magnified to represent the makeup of the general U.S. population, that means about 12 million people in the U.S. workforce identify themselves as IT workers, said Cochetti.

As far as CompTIA officials are aware, "this is the first time people were asked to identify themselves as IT workers" in a survey such as this, rather than having a third-party, like the U.S. Dept. of Labor, classify a person's profession based on "narrow definitions," said Cochetti.

The survey's other findings also show that the average U.S. IT workers is "affluent and highly educated," said Cochetti. Forty-six percent of the respondent said they are college graduates, 26% said they attended graduate school; 25% attended college, but didn't graduate. Only 3% had only a high-school education, and only 1% dropped out of high school.

The largest group of respondents -- 35% -- said they or their families earn more than $100,000 annually; 23% said they or their families earn $75,000 to $100,000 annually; 14% earn $60,000 to $75,000; 15% earn between $40,000 and $60,000; 5% earn between $20,000 and $40,000. Only 2% earn less than $20,000 annually and 6% weren't sure. Seventy-seven percent of the IT workers surveyed were male, 23% were female.

When it comes to race, nearly seven in 10 respondents said they were white, 8% said they were black or African American and 17% were other.

As for the age of the IT workers, 44% are ages 30 to 39; 18% were 40 to 49; 24% were 50 to 64; only 2% were 65 or older. The youngest crowd -- ages 18 to 29 -- made up 12% of the respondents.

Overall, the survey shows that IT workers "are a very powerful voting group that's highly educated and has lots of money to invest in political campaigns," said Cochetti.

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