Who Will Emerge as the Small Business Candidate?

Date: April 05, 2016

Although a “political revolution” brews in both parties, one group is feeling left out—small business owners.

As the campaign year wears on—perhaps painstakingly so—many small business owners feel like there isn’t one candidate for them. 

Thirty-four percent of business owners “don’t have confidence in any presidential candidate,” according to a recent OnDeck poll, a figure that’s up nine points since last fall. 

Get the latest on what candidates have said about small business.

“Given their active participation in past presidential elections, candidates would be wise to engage this vast voting constituency of 28 million small business owners,” said James Hobson, chief operating officer for OnDeck, in an article for The Business Journals. 

It’s an active group, indeed: 86 percent of the owners polled are registered voters, and 30 percent ponied up campaign contributions in the last presidential election.

Yet the lack of confidence in Washington highlights a larger concern many business owners share: Politicians aren’t recognizing their needs. In fact, 81 percent of business owners believe politicians don’t understand them, according to an Alignable poll conducted in February.

Owners’ Allegiances 

When asked about their preferred candidate, small business owners voiced support for anti-establishment candidates in OnDeck’s survey. Thirty-four percent favor Trump, and 26 percent believe Sen. Bernie Sanders will be the best small business president, according to the poll. Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz trailed, garnering 14 and 10 percent support respectively. 

Where owners do seem to agree is on the past. Fourty-two percent of respondents said that Ronald Reagan was the best friend to small business. 

*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB

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