Much analysis has been offered on the major issues in this year’s endless election cycle. Which is why we asked the Citizens of the Rail to weigh with their hot button issues.
Our business is peculiar because we employ lots of people, create trade and generally contribute to the economy. Yet we are populated by progressive people that can sometimes be greatly divided on social issues versus economic ones.
What we learned in our survey is that you are pretty consistent in the scope of what is important to you in this election and the success of your business. Of the 10 issues we presented, seven of them were rated almost identical, with only three spiking interest above the mean.
A bucket of “I don’t really care.”
We asked you to rate the relevance or impact on your business of 10 disparate topics. What was interesting was Immigration Reform was virtually no more important to you -- our readers -- as Fighting Terrorism or International Trade deals. We can only infer that this is because fewer of you rely on undocumented workers to staff your restaurant after the recession of 2008. So many immigrants self-deported that many restaurant owners and managers had to find other ways to fill those positions with eligible and available candidates.
Also, issues including Gun Control, Climate Change, Military Preparedness and Fighting Terrorism were equally tagged as important by poll participants. The reality is that most of our operations aren’t directly impacted by these types of tent pole campaign issues; therefore it doesn’t dominate our industry’s concerns for our businesses and overall success.
It’s the economy, stupid!
Unsurprisingly, the issue that dominated operator concern was the Economy. As we have seen our industry sales tank over the past two quarters, it sure feels like we are heading to a similar disaster as 2008.
Many analysts believe the restaurant business is a harbinger of both good and bad times depending on its current trend. Either way, with major chain closings, dipping same store sales and an election that just won’t stop annoying us, it’s no surprise that the Economy was your most prominent concern.
Most elections are dominated by economic issues. Even the ancillary issues are viewed through the lens of their economic impact. A good example is how Healthcare and Tax Reform out performed every other issue except the Economy. These issues have real economic impact and could easily be lumped in with the Economy if the poll had asked a more narrow set of issue ratings.
Which way now?
In the end, we have to make a choice.
Although for some, not voting may become its own political comment, most of us will make a choice come November 8th. Our unscientific polling shows that Hillary Clinton is the leader among restaurant operators, with Libertarian Gary Johnson second and ahead of Donald Trump.
It’s interesting how poorly Trump did given he has been leaning on his success as a business person to bolster his election hopes. Maybe his shortcoming elsewhere make it less likely that restaurant operators would trust him to lead our nation. We work in an industry that relies on diversity to fully staff its operations. Clearly the Trump message isn’t embracing that inherent diversity.
Now that you know what your peers are focused on, how does that track with your own concerns? Armed with this knowledge, will that influence which candidate is your choice to lead our economy for the next four years?
All four candidates have varied views on the Economy and the remainder of the issues we polled. Soon, it well be time for you to choose. How are you leaning? We love hearing from the Citizens of the Rail, so let us know what is important to you and your business this election season in the comments section below.
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