Updated Jan. 6, 2017 at 11:45 a.m.

Do techies hate Trump? 76% of 'elites' see best days ahead

Published: 2017-01-06 11:44:00
Updated: 2017-01-06 11:45:32

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Contrary to the media narrative, tech industry players and leaders don't see all gloom and doom under a Donald Trump presidency.

A poll of "technology elites" and the U.S. public finds that the techies are much more optimistic about the future of their industry than the public is about the overall economy. Yet well over 50 percent of both groups are positive about the tech future in the "Age of Trump Technology Policy Survey" from Burson-Marsteller, a global strategic communications and public relations firm, and conducted by research firm Penn Schoen Berland.

"76 Percent of Technology Elites Say the U.S. Technology Industry’s Best Days Are Ahead; 59 Percent Expect the Trump Administration to be Favorable to the Industry," reads the headline.

Little media attention has been given to this poll, which was released earlier this week at the CES Show in Las Vegas. Yet the findings support recent surveys from Duke/CFO magazine and the American Institute of CPAs taken after the election that found business leaders were generally positive about the business environment to come. And there has been a "Trump bump" on Wall Street.

Donald TrumpAfter a divisive election campaign in which the tech sector (especially companies and workers in Silicon Valley) poured money into the Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump's plans to cut taxes and reduce regulations appear to have struck a chord among tech leaders.

Defining techies

Before going further, let's define the 500 surveyed "tech elites" as identified by the "Burson-Marsteller Age of Trump Technology Policy Survey."

The definition:

"All Technology Elites are age 25+ with at least a college education, have a household income of $100,000+ in the coastal regions and $75,000+ in the heartland, live within 30 miles of a city with a significant technology industry presence reflecting a mix of established and start-up technology firms, and follow news about technology closely. Technology Elites are further broken down into three sub categories: Industry Elites who work in the technology industry, Investment Elites who work in finance and specialize in technology investing and Broad Elites who fit the general elite profile and personally invest in technology."

Nearly 60 percent of the techies expect the Trump administration to treat tech favorably. And to support that view Trump recently held a huge sit-down meeting with top executives from Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Apple and others to talk peace as well as the importance of innovation.

Half of the general public sees favorable tech policy ahead.

Not all positive on Trump

It's important to note, however, the range of findings certainly can't be viewed as all pro Trump.

“This new survey reveals intriguing insights into the beliefs of those closest to the technology industry compared to the general public, and are especially relevant now right before the inauguration and during CES, the most important technology gathering of the year,” said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. “Interestingly, the findings suggest those in the technology industry are very optimistic about the industry’s direction and prospects for the next four years, even though they are less sure of the impact of the incoming Trump administration on it.”

Higher techie optimism is borne out in several other categories as well, including job creation, the importance of innovation, and trust in the industry to "behave responsibly and in the best interests of the American public."

As for the important :right direction" and economic growth questions, the survey notes:

"Overall, 52 percent of Technology Elites believe the country is going in the right direction compared to 27 percent of the General Public, and 59 percent say the economy will improve under President Trump compared to 46 percent of the General Public."

Trump's role?

And just how big a role POTUS-elect will play remains to be seen.

"While both Technology Elites and the General Public believe the technology industry will do better in the next four years (56 percent and 66 percent, respectively), they are less sure about Donald Trump’s role in that success," the survey says.

"Only 50 percent of the General Public say “yes” when asked if Trump is a technology industry supporter, and this is only slightly higher among Technology Elites at 59 percent. Technology Elites are evenly split on whether the Trump or Obama administrations better understand the needs of companies in the industry, although the General Public is slightly more likely to favor the Trump administration at 58 percent.

"When asked to choose the word that best describe how they feel about the future of the industry under the Trump administration, 37 percent of Technology Elites choose positive words (optimistic, energized, supported, eager), 34 percent choose negative words (concerned, anxious, attacked, angry), and 27 percent choose neutral words (wait and see, neutral, so-so/mixed feelings).

"The General Public was even more ambivalent about Trump’s impact on the future of the technology industry, with a plurality (39 percent) choosing neutral words, 33 percent choosing positive words and 27 percent choosing negative words."

More online

Read more about the survey at:

http://www.burson-marsteller.com/press-release/76-percent-of-technology-elites-say-the-u-s-technology-industrys-best-days-are-ahead-59-percent-expect-the-trump-administration-to-be-favorable-to-the-industry-according-to-new-survey/#sthash.Gs6ti1ui.dpuf

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