With the election just days away, small-business owners are increasingly concerned about which candidate will secure the presidency and how that might impact their future.
Data released Tuesday from the Los Angeles-based Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management finds that, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 38 percent of small-business owners are "very concerned" about the impact of a new president on their business, compared with 19 percent who say they are "not at all" concerned. This finding comes as Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton focus on different battleground states in an increasingly tight race.
"We saw the same thing in 2012, right before the election, a lot of trepidation with business owners concerned about the future and staying on the sidelines a bit," says Craig Everett, assistant professor of finance at Pepperdine. "It is concerning that they don't seem to be seeking capital quite as much nor are they pursuing aggressive growth strategies."
A second poll from the National Federation of Independent Business echoes that theory. The NFIB saw its own uncertainty index hit a 42-year high Wednesday. Political uncertainty continues to be a key reason small-business owners are choosing not to expand right now, the conservative lobbying group finds in its monthly report on small-business optimism.
"Small-business owners who cannot reasonably anticipate government policies or economic conditions are unwilling to deploy capital, hire new employees, borrow money, or make any long-term financial decisions," said the NFIB's president and CEO, Juanita Duggan, in a release. "Uncertainty is a drag on the economy, and the nature of this campaign is creating record levels of anxiety among small-business owners."