National polls say the race for the presidency is neck and neck. But an exclusive poll conducted by HR Morning shows a clear preference among HR pros.

Asked “Whose election would benefit HR?”,  three out of four respondents (66%) picked Republican Mitt Romney, while just 24% went for Democratic incumbent Barack Obama. The remaining 10% said they were unsure of their pick, or that they saw no difference in either candidate’s effect on HR.

Just under 1,300 HR pros took part in the email survey, which ran from Oct. 10-15.

Accompanying the question of candidate preference was a section for comments. The overwhelming reason given for picking Romney:

“Less government interference.”

Here’s a further sampling of the pro-Republican comments:

  • Obama’s spending and policies have created headaches for us both on a personal level and a business implementation level.
  • Believe he is more experienced in leading an economic recovery and understands business well enough to reduce regulations that are discouraging businesses from adding new jobs.
  • Repeal of obnoxious Obamacare!
  • Values concerning: fiscal responsibility, individual accountability, and freedom to operate a business as the business sees fit (aka, reasonable regulation).
  • First of all, the class warfare will end and employees will no longer look upon senior management with envy and hatred simply because they make more money. Secondly, Romney cannot possibly add more regulations and threats of far reaching inspections and enforcement. Mr. Romney represents a much better business climate. I’d much rather compete for candidates than continue to explain how compliance costs and benefit costs leave little room for pay raises.

A sampling of the pro-Obama comments:

  • Affordable Care Act is beneficial for employers and employers due to health exchanges, pre-existing coverage, coverage of adult children.
  • Would maintain key laws/regulations/programs supporting employees.
  • I believe there will be more jobs created under an Obama administration and less pressure on our healthcare and benefits administration.
  • It’s not just about benefiting HR – it’s about what’s best for our country. Obama’s presidency will stimulate economic growth, return people to work, and incentivize employers to increase hiring.
  • Among our many duties as HR professionals, we are needed to guide, represent and advocate for our employees. From his actions, Obama is genuinely a President for the people. While some of the legislation that has been passed during his term has led to added work for HR, the new laws and policies benefit the majority of Americans.

Assessing the Obama effect

Poll participants were asked, “What impact have President Obama’s policies had on your job?” The responses:

  • Largely negative — 42%
  • Slightly negative — 24%
  • Neutral — 13%
  • Largely positive — 9%
  • Slightly positive — 9%, and
  • No impact — 3%.

Sample comments on the negative side:

  • The power of the NLRB has become so great and the effects it has on non-represented employers has gotten out of hand.
  • PPACA and reimbursement changes have drastically changed how we look at and do business.
  • Mostly a huge distraction — and the effort to sort through legislative rulings and how potential changes will indeed ultimately effect HR.
  • Caused our company to have to cut salaries, cut jobs, and stop the 401k match.
  • Employees don’t understand the changes that Obama’s administration has made, especially in the benefits area. It’s a lot to keep up with and try to explain to employees.

And a selection of the positive opinions about Obama’s policies:

  • As an HR professional, I like having policies that allow me to assist employees. The Affordable Health Care Act is forcing us to eliminate some practices that were not good for employees or the organization. The Lilly Ledbetter Act has provided support for my attempts to formalize hiring policies and promote EEO and diversity in hiring.
  • Provided a sense of caring about working people.
  • He inherited a very bad economy. His stimulus plan has helped to put people back to work. There is no fast fix. I wish more his proposals had been adopted by congress and we might be in a better place now.
  • Health care reform — preventive screenings, wellness, etc. Change is good, and this is positive change.
  • President Obama’s administration has made transparency a priority and that helps HR directors understand how their roles break out into real-life situations.

Finally, the poll asked HR pros to identify the most critical issues they’d be facing during the next  administration. The breakout:

  • Complying with healthcare reform — 86%
  • Staying competitive with pay and benefits — 60%
  • Dealing with the National Labor Relations Board — 42%
  • Hiring the best people — 32%
  • FMLA — 19%
  • ADA — 15%, and
  • Bias claims — 9%.

The full results of the survey can be found here.

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