Even after a slow quarter—and with feeling running strong that small business is worse off now than in 2008—small firm owners are slowly shifting to President Barack Obama’s corner, according to a new report.
The September survey from Manta Media Inc. revealed a third of small-business owners say they are worse off now than in 2008, but 67 percent said they were optimistic about the post-election economic outlook—no matter who won the election.
Manta surveyed some 1,200 small business owners the last week in September, so this survey does not include any effects of the first Presidential debate. (A separate poll released last week showed that small-firm tech CEOs favored Republican candidate Mitt Romney.)
In the Manta September poll, 47 percent of small business owners said they planned to vote for Romney, down 14 percentage points since August. More than a third (35 percent) said they supported Obama, up nine percentage points from August.
But the poll showed many small business voters in swing states—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin—are still in the Republican camp, with 48 percent saying they planned to vote for Romney. Obama has made gains, though: Thirty-eight percent said they planned to vote for the current president, a six percent increase since May. And the majority of small business voters—56 percent—think Obama will win the election.
Which candidate is more in touch with the average American? More small business voters said Obama (41 percent) than Romney (35 percent)—but 23 percent said neither candidate was.
"With one presidential debate complete and two more to go, it is essential that Romney and Obama address the needs of the small business community," says Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed (68 percent) thought small business is a bigger issue in this year’s election than it has been in the past.
Springer added: "It's well past time for the candidates to provide concrete plans about the issues SMBs have consistently cared about this year—healthcare, tax policies and access to credit."
The survey also found that small business owners more positive about the economic outlook post-election than they have been all year. Two-thirds (67 percent) said they were optimistic—up nearly 10 percent since August, and 14 percent since January.
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