Small Business Owners Send Clear Message in Poll

Small business owners are confident, but economic growth is not following due to too many regulations and concerns about energy prices. Those are among the results in the latest U.S. Chamber small business survey. More than eight in 10 respondents want Washington to "get out of the way."

Concerns about regulations and energy prices continue to impede growth for small businesses, according to a recent poll commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive between March 27 and April 2, 2012, found that while small business confidence grew in the first quarter of 2012, small businesses continue to lose employees. 30% of small businesses reported laying off employees in the last year.

“This survey confirms that slow gains in economic growth are being undermined by uncertainty over rising gas prices, an onslaught of pending regulations, and stalled pro-growth bills in Congress,”  said Dr. Martin Regalia, the Chamber’s chief economist. “To deliver long-term confidence to small businesses, Washington should act to provide certainty and enact regulatory reform that will boost their ability to grow.”

The poll of 1,339 small business executives found that eight out of ten of small business owners cite higher energy prices as an immediate threat to the success of their business. Concern about gas prices has more than doubled in the last three months, increasing from 10% to 24%. The majority of small businesses (78%) do not think the administration is doing enough to keep prices low, increase domestic sources of energy, or support American job creation. Additionally, three out of four (73%) say the new health care law is an obstacle to hiring new employees.

Overall small businesses see Washington as the problem instead of the solution, with 81% asking Washington to get out of the way and 92% believing the business community is the best entity to lead the economic recovery.

Almost all small business owners (97%) say it is important to vote for a candidate who is a strong supporter of free enterprise; 84% say it is very important. Only 9% of small business owners approve of the job the Democratic Senate Majority is doing on the economy; 87% disapprove. The House Republican majority’s approval rating on handling the economy has increased from 40% approval in January to 46% in April.

“Small business owners are increasingly demanding accountability from members of Congress on how they vote on the issues that impact their operations,” said the Chamber’s Senior Vice President and National Political Director Rob Engstrom. “We’re seeing small businesses unable to hire, or worse, forced to let employees go because of the Senate’s refusal to take up job-creating measures like domestic energy exploration and regulatory reform.”

The survey defined a small business as a company with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues of less than $25 million.  To read a complete copy of the Q1 Small Business Outlook Survey, please visit: http://www.uschambersmallbusinessnation.com/community/small-business-outlook-survey—march-2012

Pres. Obama Losing Support of Independents

Here are some interesting — though maybe not surprising — findings from a poll following our latest government debt deal drama. It shows President Obama is losing the independent voters that were so crucial to his initial election. Although, does this mean they’ll be voting for the GOP in 2012? My gut tells me a lot of people will stay at home with a case of disgust that day, although much could change for both parties between now and then.

President Barack Obama has sought to cut deals with congressional Republicans, including the “grand bargain” to cut the deficit and raise the debt limit, partly to appeal to independent voters, aides suggest.

It appears Mr. Obama still has a long way to go, according to a CNN/ORC International poll.

In a hypothetical matchup with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP race’s front-runner, the president loses the all-important independents 53% to 41%. Among the larger survey of registered voters, Messrs Obama and Romney are running neck and neck, 49% to 48%.

In a matchup with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mr. Obama is ahead 51% to 46%, while independents split evenly –46% –for the two men.

The survey of registered voters has a margin of error of three percentage points. The margin increases to 4.5 percentage points for responses from independents.

Mr. Obama still tops every declared Republican candidate in the poll’s hypothetical contests, but it shows voters prefer former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has not taken any serious steps toward running, over Mr. Obama, 51% to 45%) But independents generally decide elections – they sent Mr. Obama to the White House in 2008, and they gave Republicans control of the House in 2010.

  

Polled Over: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Sick of polls? Hope not. Because during the legislative session, we’ll post a weekly poll question on our blog (top, right) and try to gauge your thoughts on some of Indiana’s most critical issues.

To kick things off, we’re asking: "There is a proposal to model an Indiana immigration law after the one that has been implemented in Arizona. Do you support that proposal for Indiana?" You can simply vote, or leave a comment regarding the topic as well. As usual, please keep it civil and germane to the topic.

Additionally, we have a question up on the site of BizVoice magazine asking about your favorite Indiana sports movie. This poll complements this article, as well as an upcoming segment on Inside INdiana Business next weekend.