Survey: More than half of corporate CEOs prefer Clinton over Trump

Survey: More than half of corporate CEOs prefer Clinton over Trump
© Greg Nash

More than half of Fortune 500 CEOs say they would prefer Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonCruz being considered to replace Sessions: report Trump cuts loose in front of massive crowd at Boy Scouts' Jamboree Press: Amateur hour at White House MORE to win the White House instead of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump invokes real estate developer William Levitt in speech to Boy Scouts OPINION | With Scaramucci at the mic, Trump has a chance to take on a hostile press Feehery: Winning August MORE, according to a new survey. 

Fifty-eight percent of the CEOs said they would support Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, while 42 percent would support Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, according to a survey conducted last month by Fortune and released on Wednesday.

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“Big company CEOs tend to lean heavily Republican," the survey said.

"But most of the 500 operate on a global scale, and many disagree with Trump’s proposals for raising trade barriers. Some also have been rattled by his stance on immigration, or by his comments showing little understanding of public finance."

The survey, which was sent to all Fortune 500 CEOs, asked which candidate they would favor most as next president and gave the two leading candidates as the only options. 

Trump's unexpected rise to presumptive nominee has drawn a mixed reaction from the business community.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said recently that business leaders are perplexed about Trump's positions and are trying to figure out what he would do if he won the White House. The Chamber doesn't endorse candidates for president. 

About half — 49 percent — of the CEOs who responded to the Fortune survey said they expect the global economy to be "about the same" over the next 12 months as it has been in the last year. Some 31 percent said it would be better, while 20 percent said it would be worse.

Business leaders said increasing regulation under the Obama administration is a major concern, with 69 percent saying it is one of the top three or four challenges facing their companies.

The CEOs were optimistic about their own company’s growth prospects, with 70 percent saying they expect to employ more people two years from now than they do today. Only 14 percent expect to cut employees, while 15 percent expect no change.

The poll was sent by email to all of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, with a 14 percent response rate, meaning 71 CEOs participated.

Of those 71, 16 declined to answer the question about the presidential candidates.