The Small Business Vote: Where We Stand

October 16, 2012

When President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney take to the podiums this evening, it is likely small business will once again play a prominent role in the town-hall style debate. To really find out where small business stands, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) conducted a comprehensive survey of America’s small-business owners which evaluated their opinions on a wide range of topics from Congress’ understanding of small business and which party best represents small-business issues to campaign contributions and political affiliation.

“Small-business owners are an incredibly involved voter block, with 97 percent saying they regularly vote in national contests and 69 percent saying they have contributed to a candidate’s campaign,” stated NSBA President Todd McCracken. “When you consider that only 57 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2008 presidential election, it’s no wonder small business is such a highly-courted vote.”

Among the key findings is the fact that 80 percent of small businesses do not vote a straight party ticket. Sixty percent of Republicans say they occasionally vote for a Democrat and 68 percent of Democrats say they occasionally vote for a Republican. Furthermore, both Republican and Democratic small-business owners say economic and fiscal issues drive their voting decisions.

Conducted among more than 650 small businesses nationwide, the survey shows that, while the respondent’s political persuasion influenced their responses, there was broad agreement that Congress and the administration don’t really understand small business. The biggest unifier between Republican and Democratic small-business owners is the disappointment expressed in the U.S. political system

“Huge majorities of Republican (85 percent) and Democratic (89 percent) small-business owners think politics have become more partisan in the last 10 years, and 89 percent believe that the ability of the U.S. political system to effectively deal with its problems is deteriorating,” stated NSBA Chair Chris Holman, CEO of Michigan Business and President of The Greater Lansing Business Monthly. “We deserve better.”

Please click here to view the complete survey data.