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Small Businesses: Economy, Ethics Guide Our Votes

Gas costs, tight lending also important


Small businesses overwhelmingly see the economy and jobs as the most important issue this presidential election, followed by ethical issues, according to data released today by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and

More specifically, small businesses’ ethical concerns revolve around honesty and corruption in government. In the study, 40% of all small-business owners rated the economy and jobs as the most important issue to them. Ethical issues were most important to 14% of small-business owners.

Also interesting to note is that more small-business owners say President Barack Obama is more supportive of small businesses than Mitt Romney. However, more than a quarter of those surveyed said they were unsure who was more supportive of small businesses, and only 20% said that Obama’s health care policy helped their businesses.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The policy most commonly mentioned by small businesses that would help their business is improved access to loans.
  • 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.
  • Among swing states, New Hampshire voters were the most concerned about the economy and jobs, Wisconsin voters were disproportionately concerned about ethics in government, and Iowans and Nevadans rated health care policy as their top economic concern more frequently than did small businesses in any other swing state.
  • Florida and Michigan small-business owners were more concerned about the economy and jobs than those in any other large states.

For more information, check out the full results of the survey here, courtesy of

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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