A good many aren't thrilled with either option, according to a survey of chief executives of companies on this year's Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing U.S. private companies. The survey was conducted in June before the political party conventions.
The survey found that 40 percent expected to vote for Clinton, even though more respondents identified themselves as Republican than Democrat. (See infographic below.)
"Although I identify as a Republican, I cannot vote for Trump," says Jeffrey Epstein of Ambassador Software, a referral software maker based in the Detroit area. "Clinton is the lesser of two evils."
While some "undecided" respondents said in survey comments they'd vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, most were unable to name a candidate they preferred. Some said they "didn't trust either candidate," some hoped for "anyone who is a little less out there," and some might abstain from voting altogether.
Survey comments reveal a respect for Trump's work ethic and branding skills. "He is tenacious and keeps going," says Nelo Lucich, CEO of Skyrocket Toys, which makes and sells innovative tech toys based in Los Angeles. "Good entrepreneurs don't fail; they pivot and move forward."
Some, however, took issue with describing Trump as an entrepreneur.
"I don't think Trump is an entrepreneur at all. To me, he's a real-estate investor and a brand manager," says Daniel Hermann, CEO of Paint Nite, an events company based in Somerville, Massachusetts. "Entrepreneurs are creators, and innovators, not just businessmen, people out to make money."
--By Bartie Scott