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Entrepreneurs Say They Will Vote for Change in November

By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

When midterm election day arrives 1o weeks from now, most small business owners will be going to the polls with the economy on their minds and a vote against their current elected officials. Only 19 percent intend to vote for incumbents.

An online survey that the virtual small business community Manta conducted of 1,511 of its members in late July revealed that 81 percent of small business owners who plan to vote in midterm elections intend to vote for a challenger. Two years ago, a similar survey showed that more than half of small business owners believed the Republican Party to be the biggest supporter of small business. In 2014, fewer than one-third think that, while more than one-fourth say they don't believe any of the major political parties are supporters of small business. Just 12 percent of small business owners consider the Tea Party Movement to be the biggest supporter of small business, but 56 percent agree with some, if not everything, the party stands for.

Manta's millennial generation members aren’t so swayed. Millenials surveyed were the least likely to agree with Tea Party issues or even care about the Tea Party. They're also the most skeptical about which, if any, political party is an advocate of small business; 28 percent consider none to be advocates of small business.

The survey also asked small business owners for their opinions on minimum wage hikes and 2016 presidential candidates.

On minimum wage, they're divided: 40 percent said they would vote for a candidate who proposed increasing the minimum wage; 37 percent reported they would not. Women small business owners were more likely than men to vote for a candidate who would increase the minimum wage. Oddly, while more millennial entrepreneurs oppose a minimum wage hike than any other generation, they also cite income inequality as the second largest problem the U.S. is facing.

As for 2016, Mitt Romney has more small business community support than any possible presidential candidate. According to the poll, Romney outranked 10 other candidates as the one best for small business. Tea Party Republican Rand Paul ranked second and Hillary Clinton ranked third as the best overall candidate for small business. Clinton ranks first, however, with female and California small business owners. Among Florida small business owners, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney are tied as top candidates.

Manta CEO John Swanciger says, "With the vast majority of SBOs planning to vote in the midterm elections, it’s important for politicians to hear their voice and focus on issues relevant to this community.”

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