As presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump march toward the November election ever closer in opinion polls, a new report finds political uncertainty on Main Street is growing.
New data from the National Federation of Independent Business finds a record 38 percent of small businesses are citing political uncertainty as a reason not to expand — an all-time high for the group's monthly Small Business Optimism Index. This time last year, political uncertainty was at just 20 percent.
Sentiment on Main Street took a slight dip of 0.2 points for the month of August to 94.4, the NFIB found, led by worries over business conditions. The outlook for business in the next six months took the biggest hit, dropping 7 points.
The economy continued to be the most frequently cited reason for not expanding, followed by political uncertainty. For many small businesses, it's about a lack of detail on the campaign trail from Trump and Clinton on their plans to help smaller companies.
"There's a lack of detail in these platforms — even from Secretary Clinton who has put out a fuller small business platform in recent weeks," said Molly Day, vice president of public affairs for the nonpartisan National Small Business Association. "For small businesses, it's all a numbers game, and details matter."
Clinton, for example, recently said she would create a standard deduction for small businesses, but didn't say how a small business would be defined or how large the deduction should be.
Trump has been even more vague, talking of cutting regulations for businesses of all sizes and simplifying the tax code, giving little detail about what a broader small business platform might look like.