George Washington University and Thumbtack.com recently conducted a Small Business Political Sentiment Survey of small businesses and entrepreneurs located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Like all surveys, the information represents a snapshot in time, but is illustrative of what entrepreneurs and small businesses are considering when they think about how they will be voting in the presidential election.
As a result of small businesses creating the majority of the jobs in this country, they have become the backbone of the U.S. economy and a group that both President Obama and Governor Romney need to continue to listen and speak to in the closing days of the election. The high level of discussion regarding small business issues in this campaign cycle has been well placed given the current economic conditions in the nation.
Please find below a list of the 12 issues that entrepreneurs and small businesses were surveyed on regarding importance in deciding how to vote in the presidential election. I have also included information regarding which states ranked the issue the highest and lowest from the perspective of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
1. Economy/Jobs: 39.82 percent (South Dakota- 53 percent and West Virginia- 21 percent)
2. Ethics/Honesty/Corruption in Government: 13.73 percent (New Mexico- 26 percent and Wyoming 5 percent)
3. Social/Moral Issues: 6.32 percent (New Mexico, North Dakota and West Virginia- 13 percent and Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Wyoming- 0 percent)
4. Beating Romney/Electing Obama/Supporting the Democrats: 6.05 percent (Maine- 23 percent and Alaska, Delaware, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming- 0 percent)
5. No Opinion: 5.40 percent (Wyoming- 16 percent and District of Columbia, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island and South Dakota- 0 percent)
6. Keeping/Repealing Obamacare: 5.25 percent (Utah- 11 percent and Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont- 0 percent)
7. Other Issues (not specified): 5.20 percent (Hawaii- 17 percent and Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Tennessee and Vermont- 0 percent)
8. Beating Obama/Electing Romney/Supporting Republicans: 5.06 percent (Kansas- 14 percent and Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming- 0 percent)
9. Federal Budget Deficit: 4.93 percent (Utah- 18 percent and Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Wyoming- 0 percent)
10. Education: 3.81 percent (Montana- 16 percent and Alaska, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia- 0 percent)
11. Taxes: 2.87 percent (Rhode Island- 12 percent and Alabama, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin- 0 percent)
12. Foreign Policy/National Security: 1.62 percent (Connecticut- 7 percent and Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia- 0 percent)
To quote an overused political expression, "it is the economy, stupid." Approximately 40 percent of entrepreneurs and small businesses survey in the United States cited this as the most important issue in their vote in the presidential election. In addition, approximately 14 percent of the people surveyed consider ethics, honesty and corruption in government to be the most important issue when voting on November 6. Fortunately, only 11 percent of entrepreneurs and small businesses surveyed cited their need to be the "other guy" or support a political party as their top issue.
For the United States economy to begin to recover, it will be the entrepreneurs and small businesses that lead the way. This group is the one that takes the risks when investing capital and creating jobs. It is important for entrepreneurs and small businesses to have a predictable tax and regulatory environment to operate in to be successful. No matter how the election turns out on November 6, it is important for everyone to work together and focus on the most important issues facing our economy.
Larry Gigerich serves as Managing Director of Ginovus. Ginovus is a leading provider of national site selection, community comparative analysis and economic development incentive procurement & management services to private sector, educational, governmental and not-for-profit organizations throughout North America. Ginovus is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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