Poll: Americans See Small Businesses as Crucial to Economy

Americans find small businesses vital to day-to-day life and the economy. They also prefer small business owners as elected officials over major CEOs, according to a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The research, commissioned by NFIB and conducted by Morning Consult, also showed that while Americans value the importance of small business, many recognize a variety of barriers to starting one.

“When Americans go to work or buy services, food, and household goods, they are often entering a small business. This survey quantifies how deeply ingrained this sector is across the country,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB president and CEO. “Small business owners know the community, and the community knows them. Americans clearly want elected officials to listen to and learn from small businesses for the betterment of the community.”

Small businesses are part of the fabric of Americans’ lives, with 24-percent working at one and 49 percent having a family member or friend employed by a small business. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed purchase goods and services from small businesses often. On an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, Republicans (92 percent) and Democrats (90 percent) hold a positive view of small businesses. Overall, 89 percent report a positive view compared with 44 percent who share the same view of large corporations.

Although Americans had near-universal praise for small businesses, recognition of the risks and challenges associated with starting one is significant. Seventy-eight percent of Americans believe it would be difficult for someone like them to start a successful small business, citing economic uncertainty (41 percent) and lack of willingness to take a risk (25 percent) as primary reasons.

When it comes to understanding local needs, 82 percent say small business owners have a strong understanding of the local community. Regarding preference in leadership, Americans trust small business owners as elected officials (59 percent) and prefer them by a wide margin over a CEO of a large corporation (4 percent) or a union representative (9 percent).

With more than nine in 10 stating that small businesses are important for the local community, it comes as no surprise that 83 percent of Americans believe small business concerns should be a priority for lawmakers.

Morning Consult conducted a national survey of 2,200 adults from April 30 through May 2. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of ±2 percent.

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