When it comes to U.S. presidential candidates, 39 percent of small businesses say that President Obama is the most supportive of small business, whereas 31 percent say the same of Governor Romney and 28 percent are not sure, according to a survey by The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and Thumbtack.com. The survey of more than 6,000 small business owners nationwide, conducted July 27 to August 22, reveals which political issues matter most to small businesses themselves, drawing data from a nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs. Small businesses accounted for 65 percent of net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009, and employ nearly half of all private sector employees.
“Small businesses are deeply attuned to the effect of politics on job creation and the economy,” says Dr. David Rehr, a lead researcher on the study with the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. “Entrepreneurs are feeling squeezed by the tight lending environment and want their political leaders to curb the influence of money in politics.”
Other key findings include:
- 40 percent of all small business owners nationwide rate the economy and jobs as the most important factor in their choice for president. Ethics, honesty, and corruption in government is the second most important factor for small businesses.
- The federal budget deficit looms large in the mind of small businesses, ranking behind unemployment and the job market in the most important economic issues that small businesses are considering in their choice for president.
- Small businesses rate gas and fuel costs as the single most burdensome cost to their businesses. Self-employment taxes are rated as more burdensome than even personal income taxes or health care costs.
- Taxes are not a decisive factor for small businesses in this election, with only 3 percent of small businesses rating it as the most important issue in their choice for president, outranking only foreign policy and national security issues. Even among economic issues, tax policy was the top concern for less than 6 percent of small businesses.
- One in five small businesses believe that President Obama’s health care policy helps their business, and two in five small businesses say the opposite.
“Six thousand small business owners have told an unusually nuanced story about the factors that drive their political decisions,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “When job creators speak, we need to listen.”