CSP Magazine

The Presidential Election: A C-Store Voters' Guide (Infographic)

It’s the economy, stupid.

Despite the U.S. labor market returning to full employment in 2016, improving consumer sentiment and record-low gasoline prices, Americans are still feeling anxious about the economy. More than 84% of voters say the economy is the top issue that will determine whom they choose for president, according to the Pew Research Center.

For supporters of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, this figure is 90%, compared to 80% for Hillary Clinton supporters. And in exit polls taken during the Republican primaries, solid majorities of Trump voters said they were “very worried” about the economy. Trump and Democratic primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders both tapped into working-class anxieties, which have swelled over years of stagnating wages and voters’ perception that they are being left behind in the economy.

So how do Clinton and Trump differ in their proposed solutions?

Clinton’s campaign supports increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 per hour and supports the ongoing policies of the Obama administration.

“Her actions will probably be very focused on what’s the low-hanging fruit we haven’t done that may have more broad appeal to mainstream Middle America,” says Paige Anderson, director of government relations for NACS, Alexandria, Va.

This includes seeing through the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime to employees who earn up to $47,476 per year.

Retailers can expect an “aggressive” Department of Labor under the Clinton  administration, Anderson says.

“You will continue to see efforts … to get into our kitchen on how much we pay employees and how we schedule working hours,” she says. “Where you see some nuance, and certainly we saw it with her husband Bill Clinton’s administration, are in trying to bring more stakeholders together to have solutions to some of those issues.”

Trump, despite his populist flair, espouses a pro-business and tax reform policy. His economic vision is based on one premise: “All economic policy must be geared toward making it easier to hire, invest, build, grow and produce in America—creating a level playing field for our workers and businesses in global competition, and creating jobs here, not overseas.”

His position on raising the federal minimum wage has shifted at times, although most recently he has supported raising it to $10, as well as states’ rights to raise their own minimum wages.

Trump has consistently received more positive feedback on his economic stance than Clinton, particularly among independent voters. But campaign watchers continue to ask for specifics from both candidates.

How will they accomplish their goals, and how will they pay for the reforms?

Whether red or blue, many voters are pinning their economic hopes on the next president.

“When you think about the American worker and … you look at the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, it is being driven by people disenfranchised by the economy,” says Nelson. “They feel they’re not part of the American dream.”

Their concerns are real, he says, citing fewer high-paying manufacturing jobs, which automation or globalization have made obsolete. Unfortunately, “they are looking for some way to get back to where they were,” says Nelson, “which no candidate would be able to deliver.”


Trump scored 40% of the votes among c-store retailers polled by CSP, although there is no clear consensus on how retailers think he would affect the U.S. economy.

Whom do you plan to vote for in the 2016 presidential election?

Donald Trump40.0%
Hillary Clinton21.5%
Gary Johnson4.6%
Jill Stein0%
Write-in candidate1.5%
Don't know23.2%
I'm not going to vote9.2%

What effect would a President Clinton have on the economy?

Worsen it57.6%
Improve it21.2%
No effect21.2%

What effect would a President Trump have on the economy?

Improve it43.9%
Worsen it40.9%
No effect15.2%

Source: CSP August 2016 retailer study

Continued: Economic Data Points

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