Vice President Kamala Harris from left, United States President Joe Biden, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, wear protective masks as they meet with Democrats in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, February 3 Senators meet, 2021, to discuss Covid-19 stimulus relief.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
America’s small business owners have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite two rounds of federal loan programs aimed at helping smaller employers, a majority on Main Street are still calling for more help.
63 percent of small business owners support the $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid package currently being promoted by President Joe Biden’s administration and debated in Congress. This comes from the latest quarterly poll by CNBC | SurveyMonkey Small Business.
Among them are 46% of Republican small business owners who support the new Democratic government’s first major legislative proposal. In fact, Biden’s aid package has far more Republican support than Biden himself. Only 14% of Republican small business owners say they are okay with the way Biden does his job as president.
The support for more relief comes from the fact that small business owners’ confidence has fallen to a new all-time low since the quarterly tracking survey began in 2017. The Small Business Confidence Index fell from 48 out of a possible 100 in the fourth quarter of last year to 43 quarters. In addition, the number of small business owners who said they could continue to operate for more than a year under current terms and conditions fell from 67% in the fourth quarter to 55%.
The CNBC | SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey for the First Quarter of 2021 was conducted January 25-31 using the SurveyMonkey platform and received responses from 2,111 small business owners across the country.
The debate about more federal aid has become more partisan among small business owners following the departure of former President Donald Trump. In the fourth quarter, a whopping 83% of small business owners expressed their support for a $ 900 billion package that was passed by Congress and signed by Trump in late December.
“There are more Republicans than Democrats who own small businesses,” said Laura Wronski, research science manager at SurveyMonkey. “When we did the last poll, it was after the election, but it was still in the meantime that … maybe there was still a bit of doubt on people’s minds [about the outcome]. I think people’s perceptions may have hardened while they were a little more up for grabs in December. Since this is the Biden administration’s opening call, it will be easier to say yes or no. “
Support for the latest package may also have waned, Wronski says, as the federal minimum wage may have been raised, a measure that is typically unpopular with business owners. The survey found that 54% of small business owners oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 / hour, while 44% support the increase.
Main Street business outlook declines sharply
Overall, small business confidence was hurt by a sharp drop in the number of small business owners who said terms and conditions were “good” (from 39% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 29% this quarter), as well as a sharp rise in The Number the small business owners who expect possible changes in tax, trade, regulatory, and even immigration policies to negatively impact their businesses in the coming year – all due in large part to a “loss of confidence” by Republican small business owners.
Vronsky noted that a year ago, only 17% of Republicans expected government regulations to negatively affect their business. It’s 82% this quarter, essentially more than quadrupling year over year. In the first quarter of 2020, 40% of Democrats said changes in regulation would have a negative impact on their businesses, and this quarter that number dropped to 12%. “This is a good example of how increasing confidence in Democrats cannot offset the loss of confidence in Republicans. The extent is so different between the two groups in terms of how their perceptions change from year to year,” she said.
Republican small business owners’ confidence has completely collapsed since Trump lost the 2020 election to Biden. The Republican small business confidence index is 32, 25 points lower than it was in the third quarter of 2020, the last poll before the elections. It’s also 9 points lower than the lowest confidence level for any Democratic small business owner during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Conversely, the confidence of small business owners who identify as Democrats rose to 63, up 17 points from the pre-election poll.