Sixty percent of small business owners approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president, the highest approval rating number since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began its quarterly Small Business Survey in 2017.
Small business owners typically are a conservative-leaning group. Approval of Trump never has been below 51% in the almost three-year history of the survey. Support for Trump rose to 60% from 57% in the third quarter 2019.
Of the 60% who approve of the president's performance, 39% strongly approve. Forty percent of small business owners disapprove of his performance, 34% strongly. Ninety-three percent of Republican business owners approve of Trump, while 86% of Democrats disapprove. Among Independents, 37% approve while 62% disapprove.
The fourth-quarter CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey was conducted Nov. 12–18, 2019, among a national sample of 2,081 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up.
The climb in support for Trump corresponds with a climb in the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Confidence Index in Q4, which was driven in part by a more optimistic outlook on trade. Twenty-four percent of small business owners expect trade to have a positive effect on their businesses over the next year, up from 16% in Q3. Thirty-five percent of those who approve of Trump expect trade to have a positive effect on their businesses in the next year.
Trump supporters are also more likely to say that impeachment of the president will have a material impact on their business.
"Republicans are more likely than Democrats to anticipate consequences for their businesses as a result of the impeachment," says SurveyMonkey Senior Research Scientist Laura Wronski. "Whether it's because they view it as a political distraction that prevents people from working on real policy changes or because they're taking it a step further and they're concerned about Trump leaving office, we can't say that much from these data."
Seventy percent of those who disapprove of Trump say impeachment is unlikely to impact their business.
Trump supporters also are much more likely to say "Jobs and the Economy" is the issue that matters most to them, with 39% of them saying it is their top issue, versus 15% of those who disapprove of the president.
Among those who disapprove of Trump, 25% say health care is their most important issue, and another 25% say the environment. The environment is the most important issue for just 4% of Trump supporters.