MerchantCircle.com today released findings from a survey of over 6,000
small business owners across the U.S. to assess political sentiment
and likely voting preferences in the run-up to the November 2012
elections. The data shows that economic concerns continue to weigh
heavily on small businesses, with the economy rated as the #1 issue
facing the country today. The survey also revealed that a sizable
percentage of small business owners are still undecided in their
November voting preference.
Key findings include:
1. Republicans have been most effective at positioning the party as
supportive of small business interests.
The data shows that while all parties have had success over the past
two years aligning themselves with the interests of small businesses,
Republicans have been most effective in these efforts. Nearly 40
percent of respondents now say that Republicans are most supportive of
small business interests, up from just 23 percent in October 2010.
Just 25 percent said Democrats are most supportive (up slightly from
23 percent in October 2010), and 16 percent say that the Tea Party is
most supportive (flat from October 2010). In general, all three
parties have been effective at courting this audience: the number of
small businesses who say they're unsure of which party is most
supportive of their interests has dropped to just 16 percent (down
from 37 percent in October 2010).
2. Small business owners are increasingly pessimistic about the
Economic concerns continue to be widespread among small business
owners, with 60 percent of respondents saying the economy is one of
the top issues facing the country today, and 41 percent saying that
jobs are a top issue. This represents a significant decrease in
optimism in the economic turnaround over the past year, with 61
percent saying that they do not believe the worst effects of the
recession are behind us -- a stark increase from January 2011, when
just 41 percent said they believed the worst effects were not behind
3. Fifteen percent of small business owners are still undecided in
their November voting preference.
While most small business owners say that they know which party they
will support in November, there is still a sizable number of small
business votes up for grabs, with 15 percent of respondents saying
they are still unsure of whom they will support in the upcoming
elections. These undecided voters are also much less certain about
which political party is most supportive of small business interests,
with 46 percent saying they're unsure which party best supports their
interests (as compared to just 9 percent of the voters whose voting
preference is already decided).
4. Small businesses are most receptive to political messages delivered
via social media.
With 15 percent of the small business vote up for grabs, candidates
should be focusing on ways to reach this audience, but the data shows
that reaching them via traditional methods such as TV commercials may
pose a challenge.
According to the data, TV ads are seen as the least informative
marketing method, with just 7 percent finding these to be informative,
while 60 percent say they find these ads annoying and 40 percent
saying they tune them out. Direct mail political fliers and materials
fare only marginally better: 15 percent of respondents say they find
these materials informative, while 36 percent tune them out and 54
percent find them annoying.
Social media may be a better bet for candidates looking to reach this
audience: the survey shows that 50 percent of small business owners
follow political candidates or related organizations on Facebook and
14 percent follow these groups on Twitter. Small business owners are
also much more receptive to political tweets and posts via social
media than TV ads or direct mail, with 23 percent of respondents
saying they find political tweets and posts to be informative. This
would indicate that social media may be three-times as effective as TV
for political campaigns that are trying to target small business
Results of this survey do not necessarily represent views of Reply!
Inc. or its team.
About MerchantCircle.comWith over 1.2 million member merchants,
MerchantCircle.com is the largest online network of its kind in the
nation. With MerchantCircle.com, local business owners gain access to
marketing tools to boost their online visibility and find customers.
When online reviews aren't enough, consumers rely on
MerchantCircle.com to find the best merchants and deals, get expert
advice and secure competitive quotes on local goods and services. In
June 2011, MerchantCircle.com was acquired by Reply! Inc., the leading
marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted and
category-specific consumer traffic.