July 23, 2016

40 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Presidential Candidates Don’t Get Them


sanders clinton

It seems like a horse race, the Presidential candidates with first one, then another in the lead.

Most election years, that would be true of all the candidates, but this year, Donald Trump took the lead early on and kept it when most of the other Republicans have been chasing him or have since faded away. And he’s continued this success despite the nature of the campaign and the polarizing figure he’s become recently.

Why might that be?

A sluggish economy during the last few years has led to keen scrutiny by small business owners. And many small business owners ay feel a highly successful business owner can understand their problems.

A National Small Business Association poll (PDF) says that 40 percent feel that conventional politicians don’t understand them and don’t follow through on the promises they do make.

But a study of 884 small business owners by the NSBA (PDF) indicates that most are following this year’s elections closely with 53 percent following very closely and 42 percent somewhat closely.

A poll of 5,526 small business owners by Manta.com indicated that among Republicans, Donald Trump got 62 percent of their backing with Ted Cruz garnering 17 percent. Among Democrats, Hilary Clinton got 56 percent compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders at 43 percent. In a potential preview of this fall’s general election match up, Trump wins the vote of 38 percent of small business owners to Clinton’s 21 percent.

“They are frustrated and feel that the mainstream of both parties is more interested in power politics and self promotion than in listening to the concerns of American business,” Chris Bushong, a tax partner at Paretis, a company providing tax service for small- and medium-sized business owners and investors. “One client recently told me that while he can’t stand Donald Trump as a person, he believes he’s the only candidate who has any concept of what it takes to run a business in the face of punitive taxes and choking regulation,” Bushong explained in the Manta survey.

Here are some major policies each of the two most popular candidates with small business owners say they would support if elected. Most would impact small businesses either positively or negatively, so of course all are of interest to the small business community:

Donald Trump

  • Repeal the death tax
  • Lower capital gains tax
  • Reduce corporate tax rates
  • Impose a 20 percent tax on companies that export jobs
  • Simplify the tax code

Hillary Clinton

  • Make college affordable and pay for it by closing tax loopholes.
  • Tax credits that distribute profits between businesses
  • Raise minimum wage.

Sanders and Clinton Photo via Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼



JoAnn McFarland


JoAnn McFarland JoAnn McFarland is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers breaking news such as new product announcements, government policy, acquisitions and other industry developments. She is a published author and comes from a family-business background.

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4 Reactions

  1. Considering that each of these candidates has a personal net worth in the millions or billions (Trump) it’s not hard to see why they don’t “get” SMBs. Even as they talk about helping the middle class and small businesses they spend millions of dollars on ads attacking each other and taking poll after poll.

  2. It seems like William Shatner, the first sentence, dictated with awkward commas and strange, fragments.

  3. JoAnn McFarland
    JoAnn McFarland

    Some pundits think that Trump is ahead because economy is of great concern to many people and they figure if any one understands how it works, Trump does. After all it should be the goal of small business to become bigger and what works for big companies, should work for small ones.

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