Relatively high hopes for what technology can bring also crosses the political spectrum: Regardless of partisan affiliation, small-business owners are more apt to see innovation improving rather than hurting their businesses. On all other areas, including general outlook, there's a more yawning gap between the views of those who identify as Republican vs. Democratic.
Politics is a drag on economic confidence. On the index itself, small-business owners who are Republicans or GOP-leaning independents score a 70, on the 0 to 100 scale, while Democrats and those who tilt Democratic sit at 47. That 23-point gap approaches the 32-point gap between partisans in the new SurveyMonkey/Vox survey of consumer sentiment , which generally reveals similarly stark patterns.
More from CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey:
Why the majority of small-business owners love Trump's tax plan
Small-business owners are confident about economy and future of their business
In the small-business survey, fully 60 percent of Republican small-business owners anticipate regulatory changes to help their businesses; a scant 9 percent of Democratic ones feel similarly. The only gap in the data that's bigger is when it comes to anticipated effect of tax reform: 65 percent of GOP-leaners expect that to add to their businesses, which is an opinion shared by only 11 percent of those who lean toward the Democrats.
Together, the bifurcation of consumers and small-business owners may complicate economic predictions by further binding spending and employment decisions to the twists and turns of politics. But the effect on corporate strategy is already revealing itself: This week the Trump organization unveiled plans for the "American Idea" hotel chain to debut in areas where candidate Trump performed well in 2016.
Whether it's politics, policy or just plain old revenue growth, we'll be tracking the main drivers of small-business confidence and hiring in the quarters ahead. Stay tuned.
— By Jon Cohen, chief research officer and Laura Wronski, survey research associate, at SurveyMonkey.