Americans Have High Confidence in Small Business

By at 21 September, 2017, 7:09 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

This year’s 70% confidence rating for small business is the highest in Gallup’s trend. And once again, as in previous surveys conducted by Gallup, only the military comes in slightly higher (72%) than small business.

Americans have great confidence in small businesses.

Gallup has reported that “70% of Americans have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in small business, more than three times the 21% confidence rating for big business.”

On the small business level of confidence, it was noted, “This year’s 70% confidence rating for small business is the highest in Gallup’s trend, giving small business the second-highest rating of any of the 16 institutions tested in 2017, slightly below the military.”

Interestingly, only three of the 16 institutions polled had more than 50 percent of American adults having a high degree of confidence: the military at 72 percent, small business at 70 percent, and the police at 57 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, the three institutions garnering the highest percentages of those saying “very little” or “none” in terms of confidence were the presidency, Congress and Internet news – all registering 47 percent.

As for particular business or industry sectors, those with the most positive outlook from Americans (that is, a very or somewhat positive view) were:

Computer industry                 75%

Restaurant industry               72%

Farming and Agriculture      70%

Grocery industry                    60%

Internet industry                   59%

Auto industry                         56%

Education                               55%

Real Estate industry             53%

Retail industry                       52%

The remaining 16 sectors failed to reach 50 percent.

The worst sector was the federal government at 29 percent. Americans clearly remain skeptical of government generally, as illustrated in the poor numbers for the federal government, Congress and the presidency.

At the same time, their confidence in the military runs very high, with the police also earning considerable positives. Does this reflect a basic common sense that the first job of government is to protect life, limb and property, along with a skepticism of certain other government ventures?

Meanwhile, Americans recognize the value presented by small businesses, as well as an assortment of industries that provide food, computers and the Internet. This seems to point to a healthy understanding that entrepreneurs and small businesses work to serve consumers. Gallup in fact pointed:

“About three in 10 explain their confidence by expressing the belief that small business is the backbone of America and exemplifies the American dream. About the same percentage say they are confident in small business because the owners are personally invested in the business, directly accountable to customers and determined to succeed.”

Now, it would help for Congress and the White House to carry through on measures that can help to spur small business creation, including tax and regulatory relief and reform. By doing so, they might even boost their own numbers among the American people.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

News and Media Releases