Small Businesses, Big Issues: Your Concerns in the 2016 Presidential Election

Top small business owner concerns in the 2016 presidential election.

We surveyed 300+ principals of U.S. companies with <500 employees to explore the policy issues at play in the 2016 presidential election. Our focus: How these issues affect the voting decisions of the small-business electorate.


The 3 issues most important to small-business owners in this election

  1. Health care: 77%
  2. Government regulation and complexity: 71%
  3. Tax reform: 70%

Health Care Reform

What action would you like to see the next administration take on the Affordable Care Act? (ACA)

  • 38% – Want the ACA repealed
  • 27% – Want the ACA expanded

Government Regulation and Complexity

Is government regulation and complexity hurting your company’s profitability and/or ability to grow?

  • 55% – Yes
  • 34% – No
  • 11% – Don’t know

Tax Reform

Which proposed changes to the U.S. tax structure would benefit your business most?

  • 53% – Closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy
  • 47% – Reducing the number of individual tax brackets and rates to 12%, 25%, and 33%, which also would apply to businesses operated on the proprietors’ personal income-tax returns as a pass-through, and establishing a top corporate tax rate of 15%


Other key issues for small businesses

Minimum Wage

Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour?

  • 64% – Yes
  • 36% – No
  • Of those supporting a higher federal minimum wage:
    • 26% – A minimum wage of $10/hour would not harm their business
    • 25% – A minimum wage of $12/hour would not harm their business
    • 23% – A minimum wage of $15/hour would not harm their business


50% – The current U.S. immigration policy has no impact on their companies’ profitability and/or ability to grow


Does the current condition of U.S. infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, broadband access) affect your business’ profitability and/or ability to grow?

  • 47% – No
  • 37% –  Some impact


How the candidates measure up to small-business owners

The Candidate Who Best Represents the Interests of Small Business

  • 50% – Donald Trump 
  • 23% – Hillary Clinton 
  • 16% – Don’t know

If the Election Were Today, Who Would Get Your Vote?

  • 51% – Trump
  • 25% – Hillary Clinton

Who Do You Think Will Win?

  • 39% – Hillary Clinton
  • 32% – Donald Trump
  • 26% – Don’t know


The survey results show that small-business owners lean toward conservatism, favoring less government regulation and greater individual autonomy. However, respondents’ majority support for a higher minimum wage reflects a more liberal social position on at least one issue.  Respondents tend to believe Hillary Clinton will win the presidency, even though they decisively favor Donald Trump if the election were held today.

For detailed election coverage on all issues pertinent to small businesses, visit


About the survey

Party affiliation

  • 40% – Republican
  • 36% – Independent
  • 21% – Democrat

Size of business

  • 37% – 1-19 employees
  • 31% – 20-99 employees
  • 32% – 100-500 employees

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