If Canadian chief financial officers were able to vote in next year’s American presidential election, the majority would choose Hillary Clinton, a new poll by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business finds.
More than half of all CFOs in Canada – 54.3% – say Clinton would be the best choice for their businesses. Jeb Bush came in second place at 19.6%, and Donald Trump was chosen by 15.2% of respondents.
Fabricio Perez, associate professor of finance at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, said there are two main reasons Clinton came in as the first choice for Canadian CEOs.
“First, they may see Clinton as a free trade advocate,” Perez told Business in Vancouver via email. “ This view of Canadian CFOs may be based on Clinton’s public record. Clinton was in favor of NAFTA, she has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the gold standard in trade agreements, and as senator she voted in favor of free trade agreements with several countries.
“Second, Canadian CFOs may see Hilary Clinton as a more ‘centered’ candidate that will provide stability to the US-Canada commercial relations – the opposite of Donald Trump, who seems to have more extreme views respect to immigration, trade and commercial relations with other countries.”
The poll concluded in early September. Clinton has since come out in opposition of the controversial Keystone pipeline project, which would transport oil from Alberta oil sands to American refineries.
American CFOs all selected Republican candidates as their top choices, although no one candidate received a clear majority. Donald Trump came in top spot at 19.4%, followed by Carly Fiorina (14.1%) and Jeb Bush (13.9%). Hillary Clinton came in fifth place at 9.2%.
"This is not a survey of the average voter. These are our business leaders," said John Graham, finance professor at Duke University and director of the survey.
"It appears U.S. CFOs believe that presidential candidates with business experience would be best for their own businesses, given the backgrounds of Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina."