Clinton's Position on Outsourcing Draws Political Uproar from Super Tuesday Democrats

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A new study released by Brown-Wilson Group, international outsourcing analysts and authors of the business bestseller "The Black Book of Outsourcing", reports that the looming recession is pushing voters to understand the candidate's strategies for improving the US economy, as over 80% of voters admit not knowing the candidates' positions on offshore outsourcing and more than half of American voters don't understand the outsourcing issue.

Before the signs of a looming recession last month, barely a quarter(23.0%) of combined Republican, Democrat and Independent voters revealed that offshore outsourcing would be a key decision factor in selecting their 2008 presidential candidate. This week, 90.9% indicate that a weakened US economy is a major concern and offshore outsourcing may be a chief contributor. With Super Tuesday showdowns in big states of high unemployment and foreclosures approaching, Clinton's relations with offshore firms are again coming under fire by Obama and Edwards camps.

"Until this week, offshore outsourcing hasn't been the emotional vote-motivator like it was in 2004",said Doug Brown, managing partner of Brown-Wilson Group and co-author of "The Black Book of Outsourcing" (Wiley Publishers). On average, 7.6% of all US voters reported knowing some one who was affected by job loss or decreased business due to offshoring in the last three years. Brown reported that in the Super Tuesday states, more than 45% of voters say they have been negatively affected by offshoing personally.

The survey that garnered responses from over 5,000 registered voters in all fifty states from January 2-14 via web and telephone surveys indicates that Romney and McCain are the top Republican supporters of offshore outsourcing by record. Democrats Clinton, Obama and Edwards acknowledge the reality of offshoring in addresses but only Edwards and Obama have strong public statements or voting records that indicate cautious opposition to offshore outsourcing.

Of the 3,000 Democrats, more than half (55%) of voters see offshore outsourcing as unpatriotic, a significant decrease from October 2004 when 93.9% of voting Democrats felt offshoring was anti-American. In the Super Tuesday collection of states, 84% of Democrats believe offshore outsourcing is unpatriotic. Less than 7.9% of Republicans viewed offshoring as unpatriotic in 2004 and 6.5% in 2008.

In 47 of 50 states, more than half of all registered voters in each state incorrectly assumed that the US President could unilaterally ban offshore outsourcing. Among Democrat voters in Super Tuesday states, the percentage dramatically increases to over 85%. This group also confirmed they allow this misconception to guide their candidate selection.

The study identifies nearly three-quarters (76.4% percent) of respondents could not accurately define the difference between outsourcing and offshoring, even with a small selection of definitions to choose from.

"Outsourcing is a reality for US companies to reach their business and financial goals and critical in today's fiscal climate. It's been four years since the heavy negative rhetoric of the presidential election used outsourcing and offshoring interchangeably, and made 'outsourcing' a dirty word. We're seeing a reduced stigma with offshore outsourcing, but voters still aren't separating the economic and emotional differences between outsourcing functions to US service providers and sending low level jobs to cheaper offshore countries like India and China", added Brown.

Among Republicans and Independents, the majority of voters stated that outsourcing does not influence their candidate choice. However, more than two thirds of Democrats across all states said they would endorse a vocally anti-offshoring candidate over a pro-offshoring or neutral candidate.

The report analyzes the connection between the single issue of voter offshoring sentiments and the influence on individual candidates. Outsourcing could be a strategic vote-getter, particularly on and before Super Tuesday, in states with high unemployment, for Democrats Obama and Edwards (including Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Minnesota, California, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Arizona).

After Super Tuesday, outsourcing, as a vote-motivating tactic in the remaining primary states, should not serve any candidates with much voter interest or impact, reports the study's authors.

This study also revealed:

  • Outsourcing and offshoring are the most confusing or clouded concepts among voters in Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Nevada. In these states, outsourcing positioning, pro or con, are not effective uses of candidate strategies, as voters least understand the issues. Typically, the lower the percentage of voters confused about offshoring, the higher the percentage of negative sentiments of outsourcing.
  • Voters with erroneous convictions that the president has the powers to unilaterally ban offshore outsourcing are widespread. Democrats in Wisconsin, Texas and Georgia lead the nation with the highest proportions of all misinformed voters.
  • The Red States of South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming Nebraska and Mississippi see outsourcing as a non-issue or neutral to the US impact from offshoring.

The study includes complete position summaries on Free Trade, Offshore Outsourcing and Presidential Fast Track Authority on frontrunner candidates, Clinton, Edwards, Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, Obama and Romney.

The complete research report is available for free download at http://TheBlackBookOfOutsourcing.com    

The study is the fourth in a series of 2008 research studies that Black Book and Brown-Wilson Group has conducted on the State of Outsourcing in the US and globally. Black Book Research examines voter reasoning and attitudes for outsourcing and key findings for voters, candidates, political strategists and media.

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