INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES ASSESS THE ELECTION AND ECONOMY

We're now within a few days of being at the precise midpoint of 2004. So what better time is there to take a look at what some of the industry's key executives think about how the year is unfolding, and what might characterize the balance of the year?That being the case, you won't be too surprised to see results of that survey referenced on the front page of this week's SN.Let's take a closer look

We're now within a few days of being at the precise midpoint of 2004. So what better time is there to take a look at what some of the industry's key executives think about how the year is unfolding, and what might characterize the balance of the year?

That being the case, you won't be too surprised to see results of that survey referenced on the front page of this week's SN.

Let's take a closer look at the resulting news feature to find out what's on the minds of some of the executives interviewed.

Broadly, two events that are informing their thinking: the upcoming presidential election and state of the economy. As for the election, many of the executives quizzed didn't seem to be troubled about whether it would cause difficulties in the economy, although that possibility was broached. Those who expressed a preference said they were in favor of the reelection of the incumbent, although some didn't speak to that or were coy. As for the economy, many of those surveyed were optimistic about its now-improving state and spoke with the expectation that the economy will continue to point upward for a while.

Here are abstracts of several quotes from the survey. You'll find out exactly who is saying what as you read the news feature.

Election

"I would support George W. Bush. He's much more pro-business and he understands our concerns. I had a chance to see [Labor] Secretary [Elaine] Chao recently in Washington. To listen to a labor secretary talk about labor and [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] partnering with business to make safer workplaces was a real breath of fresh air. It's a move away from the punitive atmosphere we saw under the previous administration. President Bush is friendlier to business, and I and most grocers, I suspect, will support him for the presidency."

"I will support President Bush because he has a far better grasp of the problems we face. [I am based in California, but] I have a residence in Florida, so I will help Bush by voting there."

"I will be supporting President Bush for reelection because I think we need to stay the course. It will take time to put various security mechanisms in place that will enable us to be comfortable in travel and have confidence in the food supply."

"I support President Bush because his platform is geared more toward private business."

Economy

"I think the economy is improving compared to what it was, but I see it being a little choppy during the second half, with some ups and downs as [it] reacts to events."

"Barring catastrophes, I don't see the growth changing."

"The economy will continue to improve and show more structural strength."

"The most encouraging thing we've been seeing over the past few months is jobs."

"I see the economy improving now. I see it in our sales and from people you talk to around town."