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The George Washington University and Thumbtack.com have released new data showing that Mississippi small businesses overwhelmingly rank the economy and jobs as the most important factor in choosing a president. Surprisingly, however, ethics, honesty and corruption in government rated as the second-most important issue for small businesses in Mississippi.

Although both presidential campaigns claim to promote policies that benefit small businesses, too little attention has focused on asking entrepreneurs themselves which policies are most important to their business. The George Washington-Thumbtack.com Small Business Political Sentiment Survey is unique in investigating the political issues that matter most to small businesses themselves, drawing data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs.

“Small businesses are deeply attuned to the effect of politics on job creation and the economy,” said Dr. David Rehr, a lead researcher on the study with the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. “Entrepreneurs are feeling squeezed by the tight lending environment, and they want their elected leaders to curb the influence of money in politics.”

Some of the key findings for Mississippi include:

38% of all Mississippi small business owners rated the economy and jobs as the single most important factor for them in choosing a president.

Nationally, 39% of small businesses say that President Obama is the most supportive candidate of small business, with 31% saying the same of Governor Romney. And 28% are still not sure which candidate is more supportive of small business.

Mississippi small businesses rate gas and fuel costs as the single most burdensome cost to their businesses – more burdensome than even self-employment taxes or health care costs.

65% of Mississippi small businesses stated that licensing requirements and fees are important to the success of their business.

Among small business owners surveyed nationally, President Obama fared better than Governor Romney with businesses of five or fewer employees, 48% to 37%. The opposite was true among business of more than five employees, with Romney earning 49% to Obama’s 39% (among those registered and likely to vote).

18% of Mississippi small businesses indicated that President Obama’s health care policy helps their business.

Taxes do not appear to be a decisive factor for small businesses in this election, with only 3% of small businesses nationally rating it as the most important issue in their choice for president. Even among economic issues, tax policy was the top concern for less than 6% of small businesses.

“After a month-long survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, we have heard an unusually nuanced story about what really concerns them,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “These entrepreneurs are an important barometer of our nation’s economic health and political sentiment. When job creators speak, we need to listen as closely as possible.”

Survey methodology

Thumbtack.com surveyed 6,164 small businesses across the United States. The survey asked questions about political issues and business costs that were important to small business, such as:

“What is the single most important issue in your choice for president?”

“Thinking specifically about the economy, what is the most important economic issue in your choice for president?” and

“How important are the following issues to the success of your business?”


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