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Small Business Owners Voice Frustration with Economy and Politicians Ahead of 2024 Election

-Editorial

Less than six months from the 2024 U.S. elections, a significant majority of small business owners are expressing profound disappointment with the economy and the performance of their elected officials. According to Alignable’s Spring 2024 Political Report, many entrepreneurs feel burdened by current tax policies, regulations, and economic challenges, and they are increasingly weary of polarizing politics.

The report highlights the frustrations of small business owners who desire financial relief and stability. They call for tax cuts, inflation control, lower interest rates, and policies that favor small businesses over large corporations.

Key findings from the survey include that 86% of respondents reported that inflation has hurt their businesses in the past year, with 59% indicating significant damage. Additionally, 79% stated that taxes have negatively impacted their businesses, with 46% describing the effects as very negative. Furthermore, 76% said current regulations have been detrimental, with 43% noting a major impact. Only 6% of small business owners reported not struggling and thriving.

The survey, conducted between April 15 and May 20, 2024, included 3,310 small business owners from various sectors, including construction, real estate, finance, healthcare, and retail. 

The report also examined approval ratings for elected officials, revealing a drop across all levels of government since January 2022. President Joe Biden’s approval rating among small business owners stands at 19%, a slight decline from 22%. Vice President Kamala Harris fares similarly, with an approval rating of 14%, down from 18%. Federal Senators are even less popular, with their approval rating dropping to 11% from 13%.

Members of the House of Representatives received an approval rating of only 10%, down from 14%. Governors, while holding the highest approval ratings among elected officials, saw a decrease to 29% from 34%.

Local Representatives experienced the most significant drop in approval, plummeting to 27% from a high of 49%. These figures underscore the widespread dissatisfaction with elected officials at all levels of government among small business owners.

As the presidential election approaches, small business owners’ voting intentions have shifted. Sixty percent of small business owners plan to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election, a slight decrease from 62% in 2020. Joe Biden’s support has dropped to 22% from 30%. Meanwhile, 13% of respondents plan to vote for third-party candidates, a significant increase from 3% in 2020, and 5% remain undecided, unchanged from the last election cycle.

Despite a slight dip in Trump’s popularity, 60% of small business owners plan to vote for him, even though only 37% now identify as Republicans. This suggests a significant influence of Independents and unaffiliated voters.

Trump poll numbers have been in his favor as both candidates begin their campaigns for the November election. Many feel Biden’s economy has hurt their pockets and family finances.

The survey reveals a notable decline in partisan identification among small business owners. 

The percentage of small business owners identifying as Republicans has dropped from 47% in 2020 to 37%, while those identifying as Democrats have decreased from 20% to 14%. Independents have also declined, from 25% to 19%, and Libertarians have fallen from 3% to 1%. Conversely, unaffiliated voters have risen significantly from 4% to 19%, and those selecting “prefer not to say” or “other” have increased from 1% to 10%.

These trends indicate a growing disillusionment with traditional party politics, as small business owners prioritize economic policies over partisan loyalty. As the November election approaches, their votes could significantly influence the outcome, reflecting the broader dissatisfaction among America’s entrepreneurs.

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