Survey findings and summary
The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and Thumbtack have conducted a one-month survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide. Both presidential campaigns claim to promote policies that benefit small businesses, but nobody has asked entrepreneurs themselves which policies are most important to their businesses. The George Washington-Thumbtack Small Business Politics Survey is the only survey investigating the political issues that matter most to small businesses themselves, drawing data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs.
"Small businesses are deeply attuned to the effect of politics on job creation and the economy," said 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."
Some of the key findings include:
- 40% of all small business owners nationwide rated 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 only 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. And self-employment taxes were 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% 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% of small businesses.
- 39% of small businesses say that President Obama is the most supportive candidate of small business, whereas only 31% say the same of Governor Romney. And 28% are still not sure which presidential candidate is more supportive of small business.
- Only 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. "When job creators speak, we need to listen."