Even as President Obama's approval ratings across a wide swath of ideological/demographic groups remains impressive, one community remains relatively unconvinced: small business owners. A City Business Journals survey showed that almost three in five small business owners--really owners of small to medium-sized businesses--believe that Obama does not understand their needs, and over 40% said they are less optimistic about the economy than they were before Obama took office.
The main caveat is that this is a crowd that skews conservative: of those surveyed, nearly three times as many said they were Republicans as said they were Democrats. Remember, surveys of small-business owners showed them supporting Sen. John McCain over Obama.
Still, while it would be wrong for Obama to get despondent over this, it would also be wrong for him to ignore it altogether. The question need not be of altering policy, but rather of framing. We'd like to see him discuss his plans for health care, for instance, not just as about insuring all Americans (an important goal, to be sure) but as helping small businesses insure their employees, for example. We'd also like to see him present his plans for jump-starting the economy through the small-business lens. If he does these things, we wouldn't be surprised to find his approval among small-business owners fall more closely in with his approval among everyone else.
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