Today, Thumbtack released results of its first survey of small business owners in the 2020 presidential election. The data captures sentiment and preferences from over 400 individuals in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
Small businesses owners and their employees make up almost half of voters in the early primary states with 48 percent of Iowa residents, 50 percent of New Hampshire residents, 42 percent of Nevada residents, and 46 percent of South Carolina residents working at a small business according to 2019 data from the Small Business Administration.
In the survey, small business owners shared what issues they think should be top of mind for presidential candidates, what they want to hear candidates talk more and less about, and how optimistic they are about the future of their own business. See below for key takeaways.
All Small Business Owners
Overwhelmingly, small business owners who are likely to vote reported that the economy is the number one voting issue this election cycle with 43 percent of respondents choosing the economy, followed by taxes at 23 percent, and health care at 22 percent.
Many small business owners are self-employed meaning they are responsible for finding their own health insurance and calculating their appropriate tax rate, making these issues top of mind when looking for leaders who will address them.
These small business owners also reported high levels of optimism about the short-term future of their business. When asked how they expected their financial situation to be in the next three months, over 60 percent said they expected it to be better, while only 5 percent expect it to be worse.
Democratic Small Business Owners
Among small business owners identifying as likely Democratic voters in the first four primary states, there were a variety of priorities, reflecting the unsettled nature of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Democratic small business owners want to hear the candidates talk more about their plans for the economy, health care, and climate change.
But, they have heard enough from the candidates about trade/tariffs, immigration, and corruption/impeachment and prefer candidates spend less time on those issues.
Respondents also indicated that they are still open to changing their mind on which Democratic candidate to support. Only 39 percent said their mind is made up, while 61 percent said that they could be persuaded to change their preference to another candidate before voting begins in less than a month.
Independent and Democratic small business owners reported that the top consideration that will ultimately decide their vote is a candidate’s likelihood of beating President Donald Trump with 32 percent saying that was the most important factor, followed by 28 percent who named a candidate’s position on economic issues.
When it comes to health care, a top issue for small businesses and self-employed individuals, and an issue that has been central in the Democratic primary, Democratic small business owners prefer a Medicare for All plan over the public option plans proposed by several candidates.
Thumbtack works with hundreds of thousands of small business owners across the country. We are committed to ensuring that they are able to participate in the civic process and to helping make their voices heard to the candidates and elected officials making decisions that impact their livelihood. Throughout 2020, Thumbtack will encourage small business owners to register to vote at Thumbtack.turbovote.org and to participate in the election.
Between January 6, 2020 and January 8, 2020, Thumbtack surveyed 407 small business owners in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Only responses from the 303 individuals who indicated that they are likely to vote in the 2020 election were included in the survey results. Among respondents, 29 percent identified as Republican, 26 percent identified as Democratic, 25 percent identified as independent, and 20 percent declined to identify party affiliation.