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Do small business owners support Trump? Not so fast

Do small business owners support Trump? Not so fast
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]

Many U.S. entrepreneurs believe that the Trump administration and Congress are doing more for large corporations than they are for small business owners, according to a new national survey of 1,225 entrepreneurs from the Kauffman Foundation, conducted by Global Strategy Group and Public Opinion Strategies. That could be a bad sign for the Republican party’s prospects in 2020.

Per the survey, 84% of the entrepreneurs say President Donald Trump has done a good job for large businesses and corporations. However, the majority also feel that the administration and U.S. Congress are doing more for mega corporations than for businesses like theirs.

This is particularly true for black, female, and Hispanic entrepreneurs. While these groups are a quickly growing segment of the entrepreneur and startup world, they are also less likely than entrepreneurs overall to give Trump positive marks when it comes to representing business owners like them. Overall, 59% of entrepreneurs give Trump good marks, but only 52% of female and black entrepreneurs do, and only 53% of Hispanic entrepreneurs do. Additionally, according to the survey, minority business owners show less optimism about the country and the economy. Female, African-American, and to some extent Hispanic entrepreneurs are less likely than the overall population to express positive opinions of the national economy or the current economic climate.

In the buildup to the 2016 presidential election that ushered Trump into power, a Manta poll of 2,527 small business owners who planned to vote in the primaries found that 60% thought Trump was the best Republican candidate for small business. Similarly, a survey of small businesses by Sage also found Trump to be the heir apparent when it comes to representing small businesses. In September, the National Federation of Independent Business said its small business optimism index was on a record-setting hot streak, eclipsing the previous optimism record set during the Reagan era.

But if the Kauffman Foundation’s survey is any indication, that support may be dwindling. A strong majority of entrepreneurs (75% overall, including 71% of female entrepreneurs) say they are satisfied with the outcome of the 2018 midterm election, which ushered a wave of Democrats into office. Considering that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, he will need every scrap of support he can get to win in 2020, and judging from this new survey data, he may not be able to rely on entrepreneurs and small business owners to get there.

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