2020 Election Campaign: Small Business Owners are Highly Engaged

By at 18 February, 2020, 1:50 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Earlier this month, Square/Gallup published the results of a poll of small business owners taken from January 15-24 in effect measuring their engagement on the 2020 presidential campaign.

Square/Gallup reported that 60 percent of small business are paying “a lot” of attention to the campaign, with another 30 percent saying that they are paying “some” attention. It’s not surprising to see that small business owners are highly engaged, but this 90 percent level is rather striking.

As for their top policy concern, small business owners were asked which issue presents the greatest challenge to your business operations. The breakdown was:

Top Policy Issue/Challenge

 of Small Business Owners



Government regulations


Health care


U.S. trade tariffs


Climate change





These results are not surprising, but they are instructive. Consider, for example, that the three issues where government burdens are clear – taxes, government regulations and tariffs (i.e., taxes on imports) – tally up to a whopping 68 percent. Another 20% said health care was their third top concern, where government regulation and intervention plays a big role in driving up costs and limiting choices.

Also, regarding the 2017 tax relief measure, Square/Gallup reported: “69% report that their business benefited from the 2017 tax reform law. More than seven in 10 say they reinvested over one-quarter of the savings that resulted from the tax law in their business.”

Again, while this result is not surprising to those who understand entrepreneurship and economics, it does serve as an instructive reminder that tax relief for entrepreneurs will result in enhanced ability to and incentives for investing in their businesses.

As for the election matchup, while 52 percent of small business owners see they’re business doing better if President Trump is re-elected and 41 percent if the eventual Democratic Party nominee were to win, the head-to-head matchups are very close, with the widest margin being only 4 percentage points – with Trump ahead of both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren by 4 percentage points, while at the other end, Michael Bloomberg leading Trump by 4 percentage points.

It promises to be a long haul to November, but based on these numbers, small business owners will be keeping a close on eye on the campaign.

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

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