Who Would Be The Most Tech-Savvy President?

The 'Technology President'

As more technology enters our homes and offices, the next U.S. president will play an important role in outlining the country's digital path.

IT leaders like former Cisco CEO John Chambers have said the U.S. government is not doing enough to support a "digital agenda" and is falling behind the governments of other countries like France and India. "This is the first time that our government has not led a technology transition," Chambers said at the BoxWorks 2015 event in September in San Francisco. "Our government has been remarkably slow. We are the last major developed country in the world without a digital agenda."

Harris Poll recently conducted a survey among more than 2,000 Americans age 18 and older on behalf of myDevices, an Internet of Things solutions company, asking respondents to vote for the presidential candidate who would be America's "technology president" if elected. Who came out on top, according to the survey? And what do solution providers think? Find out on the following pages.

Donald Trump

Republican candidate Donald Trump was the front-runner on the survey, with the most votes for top tech-savvy candidate, capturing 18 percent.

"Trump would [be the] biggest boon for our industry, without a doubt," an executive with one top solution provider and Cisco partner, who declined to be identified, told CRN when asked to comment on the survey. "The president needs to be a business leader and lead the country clearly as a business innovator in technology. [Trump is] more business-focused. He's got a lot of the Wall Street people. He backs a lot of the venture capitalists, so he's very active, which for us and our customers would be a huge positive going forward."

Trump, a business owner and TV personality, said in a recent interview with Breitbart Tech that he's a "strong supporter of expanding tech capabilities in the United States."

"He might be the most tech-savvy out of the candidates, because the way he utilizes media and the way he uses technology in his businesses proves that he appreciates the technology," said another executive with a top solution provider and EMC partner, who did not want to be identified. "I think he would use [technology] to promote more business as an advantage for the United States from a business perspective."

Hillary Clinton

Nipping at Trump's heels is Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who received 17 percent of the votes in the survey.

"She would be a huge win for the technology sector, specifically around health care, where she is extremely pro-technology," said the Cisco partner. "You could also argue that she knowns how to manipulate technology, or maybe not so well with hiding her emails and things like that. She clearly understands data and wiping drives."

The Cisco partner exec referred to former Secretary of State Clinton's private email controversy as being one of the few times where technology was on the forefront of the race. Clinton has hired technology startup The Groundwork to aid in her campaign efforts and provide consulting services. The startup is funded by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Carly Fiorina

One might think that Republican candidate Carly Fiorina would top the tech-savvy list, as she is a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, but she tied for third place on the survey, collecting 12 percent of the vote.

"She would be an extremely strong leader," said one solution provider executive and HP partner who declined to be identified. "I don't think the layoffs she had at HP [change] her 'tech-savviness' -- it really wasn't her doing. The industry was shifting and she needed to make tough decisions."

Fiorina was HP CEO from 1999 to 2005, and made an unsuccessful run as the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in California in 2010.

"Carly obviously just gets [technology]," said the Cisco partner, "but when you start talking about the Internet of Things, sensors on bodies and sensors on water lines and things like this -- that's all going to be venture capital stuff, and this is where Carly kind of gets it, but where Trump really promotes that. He really understands that small companies need tax breaks just like the big companies so that they can innovate."

Ben Carson

Like Fiorina, Republican candidate Ben Carson also received 12 percent of the votes in the survey. Carson is a retired surgeon who is known for separating conjoined twins and developing a technique for controlling brain seizures.

"He's known for those skilled hands, but it was also about having the modern tools," said the EMC partner. "So from a medical, health-care perspective -- yeah, he gets technology, but not necessarily from an IT perspective."

According to media outlet SFGate, at a recent news conference, Carson said: "Silicon Valley is a very important part of America. A lot of good things have come out of there. I'm very supportive of it. … But I don't feel any particular need to come out and do something."

Marco Rubio

Taking fifth place was Republican hopeful Marco Rubio, who captured 11 percent of the votes.

Rubio, a U.S. senator representing Florida, says he wants to reduce regulatory standards and financial fights for startups such as Uber. If he wins the presidential election, Rubio said, he would have the U.S. Defense Department develop a "more technology agile and adaptable workforce that can leverage technological evolution," according to his campaign website. He also said he plans to spend heavily on technology for the military and public-sector cybersecurity.

"I don't think Rubio would have any effect on the IT business side of things," said the Cisco partner.

Bernie Sanders

The only other Democratic candidate other than Clinton to make the list is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who scored 8 percent of the votes.

"I don't think anybody really believes this guy will go full throttle towards anything spurring [technology] innovation," said the HP partner. "I doubt he truly understands the underbelly of the technology and innovation that's happening in 2015, 2016."

Interestingly, on the social media front, Sanders -- who at 74 is the oldest presidential candidate -- is the leading Democratic candidate on Twitter, according to a recent report by technology and data company Engagement Labs. Sanders had the highest favorites and retweets per 1,000 fans and has the most active user base, according to the report, and is also garnering an "impressive high" active user base on Facebook.

Sanders has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to ensure net neutrality, including the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2015, aimed at preventing Internet providers from creating Internet "fast lanes," according to his campaign website.

Chris Christie

Rounding out the survey were Republican candidates Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, who tied for seventh place, each capturing 4 percent of the vote.

"Christie, Bush -- those are politicians, there's nothing really technical about them," said the Cisco partner. "Even though Hillary is a politician she is very proactive on this technology front. Clearly, Carly and Trump, that's where their heads are at -- making business run, negotiating contracts and keeping the partnerships key. You've got to be a strong business leader to make sure innovation stays in the United States."

Christie, the New Jersey governor, made some headlines on the technology front in September when he said the U.S. should use technology to track people who come into the country as visitors. "We need to use technology in order to be able to secure the border," he said in an interview with Fox News.

Jeb Bush

Bush, the former governor of Florida, gained 4 percent of the votes. In September, Bush outlined his views on tech policies around cybersecurity, surveillance and regulation of the technology business.

"Ultimately, we need Internet security, and a strong tech industry that can be leveraged to the public's benefit, in order to achieve high, sustained economic growth that will benefit everyone," said Bush in his outline.

Bush said the government needs to remove barriers to innovate the tech industry, mainly around cybersecurity.

"As part of this national effort to improve cybersecurity, the government must not be an obstacle to innovation in the tech industry. The government's power to incentivize and empower must take precedence over its predilection to regulate and constrain," he said.