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With no end to the housing downturn in sight, with banks and investment firms hemorrhaging billions of dollars, then failing, and the federal government offering more than $1 trillion and counting to try and stem the tide of the credit crisis, the next president of the United States may hold the future of the country in his hands. Many businesses and individuals are hurting, but the home building industry has more at stake than most.

To say that this election is important to builders would be an understatement of the greatest magnitude; the economy is in a full-fledged nose dive, and builders need a president to restore the American people’s confidence, create new jobs, and right the capsized economy before people will start buying homes in large numbers again.

Although some national polls find Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a dead-heat for the Oval Office, builders, traditionally conservative, lean heavily toward the Arizona Republican with his long history of fighting regulatory restrictions for business in the Senate. But even McCain is now backing business and banking regulations.

It’s a confusing time for any American, but especially for a builder fighting a tidal wave of negative sentiment about housing.

Finding real answers in the candidates’ whistle-stop promises and scripted answers to softball questions is difficult at best. To provide clarity on the candidates’ positions, Builder first asked readers to rank their top concerns on a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the highest priority and 10 being the lowest. Then we distilled the candidates’ positions on some of those issues. Our survey revealed that many of you rate the energy and credit crises most important, with immigration, infrastructure development, affordable housing, and green building rounding out the list of your chief domestic concerns.

Read on to find out where McCain and Obama stand on several of your top issues.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.