While the relentless stream of polls taking the pulse of voters both nationally and in key battleground states shows a tight race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, those who guide the nation’s largest law firms don’t see it that way.
Asked as part of The American Lawyer‘s annual Law Firm Leader survey who will win this year’s presidential contest, 83 of 106 Am Law 200 managing partners, chairs, and other firm leaders, or 78.3 percent of those polled, said they expect the president to win reelection to a second four-year term when ballots are counted November 6. The remaining 23, or 21.7 percent, predicted a Romney victory.
The predictions—which do not necessarily reflect how the firm leaders will cast their own votes—run counter to the results of recent polls, which, as The Associated Press reported Tuesday, show “a neck-and-neck race nationally and in some of the key swing states.” One possible explanation for the president’s strong showing in The American Lawyer survey: Most of those who responded did so before the first debate between the two candidates, which Romney was widely credited with winning. Of the eight firm leaders who weighed in after that October 3 face-off, four saw the president claiming victory and four favored Romney.
The survey results dovetail with sibling publication The National Law Journal‘s recent analysis of presidential campaign donations by large firms. Of the combined $4.05 million the candidates raised from supporters at the nation’s largest 25 firms by head count during the current election cycle, the Obama campaign received $2.63 million, or nearly two-thirds of the total, while Romney’s candidacy collected $1.42 million. At $345,997, DLA Piper topped the list in terms of contributions from a single firm to the president, while Kirkland & Ellis led the way for Romney, with $345,592.
The full results of the survey—which garnered responses from 113 participants overall and focuses mainly on how firm leaders view the state of their respective firms as well as the broader business climate—are to be published in The American Lawyer‘s December issue.