Swing-state small businesses favor GOP

A growing number of small business owners are optimistic about the post-election economic outlook, and the majority of them in key swing states plan to vote for Mitt Romney or the GOP nominee for president, according to a survey conducted this month by Manta, an online community for small businesses.

The organization polled nearly 1,600 of its members nationally, including nearly 400 in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In those key states, 28 percent of small business owners surveyed said that if Governor Romney is the GOP nominee, he has their vote. Another 25 percent said they would vote for whomever is selected as the GOP candidate. Four percent said they would vote for the GOP candidate only if it is Ron Paul. And 32 percent said they would like to re-elect President Barack Obama. Fewer than 10 percent of small business owners in the swing states remain undecided.

Numbers in the swing states nearly mirror national stats gathered by Manta. Among all 1,593 small businesses surveyed, 24 percent will vote for Romney, another 25 percent will support any GOP candidate, and 32 percent support Obama. The numbers represent a slight drop in support from small businesses for the President since January. At that time, a Manta national political poll of its membership indicated that 35 percent would vote for Obama. 

Regardless of who will be President next year, small business owners are increasingly optimistic about the post-election economy. While 53 percent claimed to be optimistic back in January, 65 percent polled in May had adopted a sunnier outlook. 

Attitudes have shifted slightly since January with regard to specific business issues, too. Fewer business owners cited “access to credit” or “unemployment” as their top political-related worry, and more say “healthcare” is the number one political issue affecting their business. “Tax policy” remains a top concern of 17 percent of small business owners.

"As we are less than six months away from the election, it is critical that the presidential candidates still in the race focus on important issues affecting SMBs, such as job creation and healthcare," said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta.

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