In some form or another, I’ve covered every presidential campaign since 1988 as a journalist, and the last six as a working ‘professional.’ Upon joining the Roofing Contractor team in 2015, I knew my role in this election cycle would be different as I narrowed focus on our core readers — roofing contractors and the people that work for or with them in roofing companies. So, it was the first cycle time in a long time where I got to sit back and watch the presidential campaign unfold from afar. And what a spectacle it was — right up to the very end.
At times, I thought how exciting it would be to still be on the campaign trail and in the political fray of this historic election. And other times, frankly, I was glad to not be part of the brouhaha that it became.
Along the way, I learned that regardless of how tumultuous the political season became, roofing contractors that I spoke to and worked with over the past 18 months were focused largely on just one thing when it came to the election: business.
And it appears, looking at anecdotal evidence and yesterday’s results, that meant overwhelming support for Republican President-Elect Donald Trump. Perhaps that’s not a surprise to anyone. Roofers have historically supported Republican candidates, and, after all, Trump amassed a fortune as a builder. What roofers that actually want to be successful honestly dislike builders?
Still, some of what I observed over the past warrants a closer look. According to Roofing Contractor’s unscientific online candidate poll that posted in October, Trump was an overwhelming favorite. He received 69 percent of the vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 21 percent. Nearly 8 percent selected neither or supported a different candidate, and 2 percent said they were undecided (really?)
Taking a deeper dive into some anecdotal evidence, the support for Trump among roofers was strong long before he even emerged as the party nominee. In a random, anonymous poll, roughly 40 percent of roofing contractors that attended RC’s annual industry roundtable event at Best of Success 2015 said they expected Trump to beat out Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker in the primary and ultimately win the presidency.
In a similar unscientific poll, a largely different group of industry leaders that attended the roundtable at Best of Success 2016 in September again showed strong support for Trump (nearly 40 percent). However, a slight majority gave Clinton the nod when asked who they thought would actually win.
During his presentation at this year’s conference, political insider Craig Brightup of the Brightup Group, didn’t predict a Trump victory. Yet he did say the future was looking up for roofing contractors if Trump won, particularly on the regulatory front.
“We’ve got a really good chance to get rid of all these regulations, especially if the Republicans maintain a majority in the Senate,” he said. They did, by a 51-47 margin.
It looks like Trump, and the majority of roofing contractors from around the country, got their wish. Now he just has to deliver.