Among the multitude of voter demographics that this year’s presidential candidates will be eyeing are the nation’s small business owners, with their own agendas for economic policy. New research from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management finds a clear winner for SMEs: Donald Trump.
The Republican candidate was cited as having the policies most aligned with what small business owners are after, researchers said following a survey of nearly 2,500 small business owners. The research was conducted in February of this year.
According to reports, SMEs cited Trump by a nearly two-to-one margin over Democratic presedential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said Trump offers the most small business-friendly policies, compared to 18 percent for Clinton and 12 percent for Sanders.
The same can’t be said for mid-sized businesses, however. Researchers found that Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich won the most support from this demographic, with 18 percent of mid-sized-business owners throwing support behind the candidate.
In response to the survey findings, the school’s assistant professor of finance and director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project, Dr. Craig R. Everett, spoke on SMEs’ sentiments in the wake of an economic recession.
“Small businesses are feeling the effects of the past recession and are attracted to Republican policies that promise to protect against another future slowdown,” Everett stated. “This explains the massive cumulative lead of 31 percent that Republican candidates have over the Democratic candidates among small business owners.”
“Trump’s popularity among small business owners is understandable since he is an independent business owner himself,” he added. “Small business owners have felt in recent years that politicians have abandoned Main Street priorities in favor of the needs of the large multinational companies. Trump’s unapologetic pro-business attitude dampens the blowback from his more disturbing comments among a sizable number of America’s private business owners.”