The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) polled 600 technology professionals over the first two days of October. It found that 53% of IT workers favor Obama. Thirty-eight percent said they would vote for his Republican rival, John McCain. Four percent said they would choose another candidate, and 6% said they were undecided.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said that the candidates' ability to bring about change was a leading factor in their choices. Twenty-five percent said a major factor was the candidate's ability to understand their concerns. Fifteen percent of respondents cited "some other reason," while 14% cited the candidates' ability to boost the economy. Eight percent said that experience was a leading factor in their choices, and an equal number cited ability to protect the United States from external threats.
When asked to identify the most important issue the next president will face, 64% cited the economy.
Every other factor was cited by less than 10% of respondents. Nine percent said national security is the biggest issue, and an equal number of respondents cited government ethics and corruption. Six percent cited immigration and 5% cited the war in Iraq as being the most important issue. Three percent cited health care; 2% cited "some other issue;" 1% cited Social Security; and 1% said they weren't sure.
In terms of technology policy, 79% of respondents said the government should not regulate the Internet the way it regulates telephone service providers and television broadcasts. Fifty-nine percent said free trade aids the U.S. economy, and 57% said the government should do more to protect the environment.
A majority of IT workers also said the government should do more to protect intellectual property, according to the survey.
Roger Cochetti, group director of U.S. Public Policy for CompTIA, said he was surprised that 25% of IT workers contributed to one of the presidential campaigns, while only 1% of the general populace did so.
"The takeaway here is: IT workers represent a newly emergent, politically active, highly educated and wealthy voting bloc," Cochetti said in a statement. "A politician is playing with his or her political fate if he or she ignores them. With IT becoming more ubiquitous, this unique bloc will only grow, and with that they'll play a greater role in election outcomes, as well as public policy matters."
Respondents identified themselves as "IT workers" and CompTIA estimates that the American IT workforce counts nearly 13 million employees. That's one of every 12 Americans, or 7% of the U.S. workforce -- far beyond government estimates of approximately 2.7 million and more than those who work in farming, mining, and construction combined.
The report states that 78% of IT workers are male, 74% are white, and 63% are between the ages of 30 and 49. Sixty percent earn more than $75,000; 74% have a college degree; and most live in the South (34%, compared to 24% in the West.)
Fifty-nine percent of IT workers consider themselves moderate to liberal, but the largest bloc (40%) are registered as "independent/other," according to the survey.
The mood seems to have shifted since March, when CompTIA announced that IT workers were split between McCain and Obama.