Strategy

The CEO Poll: It's tough being the new guy

Canadian CEOs less than enthused by U.S. presidentâ??s performance.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been in power for nearly a year, and the environment has no doubt been one of the most challenging for any new head of state to tackle. Obama hasn’t performed particularly well on any of the issues thrown at him this past year, according to a poll of Canadian CEOs conducted by COMPAS Inc.

Asked to grade Obama on a scale of 1 to 100 on a number of issues, the CEOs scored the president the highest on dealing with race relations in the U.S., with a score of 64. “In my experience, the central issue of all domestic U.S. policy revolves at some level around race,” wrote one respondent. “The very presence of Barack Obama in the White House helps the U.S. confront this issue at all levels.”

Respondents gave Obama a score of 57 for his work on health care policy, and 50 for his dealings with the environment, two areas currently undergoing massive reform in the U.S.

The government has also propped up the U.S. banking sector with large bailouts, which garnered mixed reactions from the respondents. They were evenly divided on whether the government’s bailouts to the financial sector created a moral hazard, meaning companies will continue to take excessive risk under the belief that government will bail them out should something goes wrong.

“In order to have really effective change, we have to break up large corporations that have a stranglehold on the economy,” wrote one respondent. “We need to go back to smaller is better, where large banks and corporations cannot break the economy.”