Four years ago, there was a widely held view in Silicon Valley that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was far more tech-savvy – and more sympathetic to tech issues – than his Republican opponent, John McCain. But in the current election, at least according to one survey, more Silicon Valley business leaders are inclined to believe GOP candidate Mitt Romney would have a better impact on the tech economy.
That’s the headline from a new report by DLA Piper, a business law firm that advises and represents companies around the world. The firm is sponsoring a conference in Menlo Park today.
Four years ago, the firm says its survey of senior tech executives found 60 percent believed Obama would have “a more positive impact on technology development and investment” than McCain. This time around, 64 percent believe a Romney administration would be better for the tech industry.
A spokeswoman says the new survey was based on responses from just 222 people, among “thousands” of senior executives, venture capitalists and consultants who were sent the questions by email. But some might say the findings aren’t surprising: Obama was hailed four years ago as the candidate who understood the importance of the Internet and other tech innovations. This year, however, Romney has worked to position himself as the candidate who understands business and its concerns about taxes and regulation.
The survey also found many respondents are concerned about the tenor of this year’s campaign discussions of the private equity industry, which has included debate about the track record of Romney’s firm, Bain Capital. DLAPiper reports that 78 percent of respondents believe the discussion has “hurt the reputation of the private equity industry,” and 65 percent think that could result in more regulation.