Study: CEOs May Affect Who Workers Vote For, Donate To

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 8, 2016
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A recent study has found that a CEO's choice in who to support in a political campaign influences who their workers support as well, with researchers discovering strong correlations with campaign contributions and voter turnout, according to The New York Times.

The study looked at over 2,000 companies over eight federal election cycles from 1999 to 2014. What they found was that when the CEO of a company supports a candidate, employees are three times more likely to donate to their campaign, and are more likely to vote in congressional districts where CEOs are more politically active. While the first thought one might have in reaction is that companies tend to hire people who fit in with their values, the researchers discovered that, no, it's the CEO specifically that drives this effect--if a CEO leaves, and the new CEO supports a different political candidate, workers will donate more to whomever the new CEO supports, not the prior one. 

"Our results suggest that CEOs are a political force," said the study's abstract. 

Sometimes the effect is a little more direct. Fortune reports that Goldman Sachs has forbidden its partners from engaging in political activities and/or making campaign contributions to candidates running for state and local offices, as well as sitting state and local officials running for federal office. This, explained a memo leaked to Politico, is to avoid running afoul of pay to play laws.

Paradoxically, though, this policy is also seen as helping Hilary Clinton over Donald Trump, due to the fact that Trump's running mate is currently the governor of Illinois and so would fall under the firm's restrictions on political activities. The Clinton campaign, however, would not fall under this ban considering that Clinton is a former Secretary of State and Kaine is a Senator. 

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