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USA: Small Business Owners Say Economy Is Top Presidential Election Issue

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1 de Octubre del 2020

* Información extraída de la Camara de Comercio de Estados Unidos (22/09/2020)

The state of the U.S. economy is having a major influence on small business owners’ attitudes towards the upcoming election, according to a new poll taken August 21-27 and released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. Over half (57%) of small business owners rank the economy as the first or second most important issue influencing who they will vote for this November. 

The survey also found that small business owners continue to view the economy as predominately negative. Most (78%) small business owners categorized the economy as “average,” “somewhat poor” or “very poor” in August. That marks an 8-point increase from July and a significant (40 point) shift since January 2020, when 38% said the same.

“The pandemic has had an uneven economic impact on industries and workers, many of whom are small business owners. It’s no wonder their driving issue for the upcoming election is the economy,» said Neil Bradley, executive vice president, and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are now in a K-shaped recovery, where many small businesses face severe long-term challenges. We need our elected leaders to come together and provide targeted relief to the industries and small businesses that have been the most deeply impacted. Inaction is simply unacceptable.”

After the economy, small business owners cite taxes (27%), COVID-19 (25%), and healthcare (25%) as the most important 2020 election issues.

Political Positions and Partisan Gridlock 

When it comes to political positions, 81% of small business owners report that the impact of a candidate’s policies on their business plays a role in deciding which candidate to support. Nearly half (48%) say it plays a major factor in their decision. Additionally:

  • Female small business owners are twice as likely to consider race issues/racial inequality as one of the top two important factors when considering which presidential candidate to vote for compared to their male counterparts (16% vs. 8%). 18% of minority business owners and 10% of non-minority small business owners said the same.
  • Veteran owned small businesses are more likely to view education (25%) and immigration reform (19%) as important versus all small business owners (12% and 7%, respectively).

The majority (68%) of small business owners agree that it is more important for political leaders to compromise than stick to their beliefs in order to get things done. Overwhelmingly, small business owners (82%) believe partisan gridlock in the federal government is a serious problem.

Election Engagement 

The majority (62%) of small business owners are more interested in the 2020 election (including 40% who are “much” more interested) compared to 2016.

Interest levels break out differently across regions, sectors, and demographics:

The most familiar “election battleground” regions are most interested in the election. Midwestern small businesses are more likely to show interest (71%) when compared to other regions (63% in the South, 58% in the Northeast, and 57% in the West). 

  • Minority-owned businesses seem to be less interested than their non-minority counterparts: 54% of minority-owned small businesses have more interest in this election compared to 64% of non-minority-owned small businesses saying the same.
  • Women-owned businesses report being more interested in this election compared to the previous election: 65% of female-owned businesses report more interest in this election, while 60% of male-owned businesses report the same. The degree of interest is also higher among women business owners, 45% indicate they are “much more” interested in the 2020 presidential election (vs. 36% of male counterparts).
  • All generations of small businesses report more interest in this election – 63% for Baby Boomers or older, 62% for Gen X, and 60% for Millennials.

Coronavirus Concerns 

Overall, three-quarters of small businesses (74%) are concerned about the impact that the coronavirus will have on their business. Yet, the number of small businesses reporting feeling “very” concerned about the virus’s impact has decreased more than 20 points since March to 35%.

Today, more small business owners think the recovery period will take longer than they originally anticipated when the pandemic began. “While we have seen some improvement since the pandemic hit, small business owners remain overwhelmingly concerned about the economy,” said Jessica Moser, senior vice president, Small, and Specialty Business at MetLife. “As we head into this election season, small businesses are clearly saying they are looking for leaders to create policy solutions that will help them with recovery.”

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