Detroit Small Businesses Rate Election Issues



Washington – The George Washington University and have released new data showing that Detroit small businesses overwhelmingly rank the economy as the most important factor in choosing a president, with the job market and health care costs among the biggest concerns. Governmental ethics was rated as the second-most important issue for small businesses in Detroit.

Although both presidential campaigns claim to promote policies that benefit small businesses, too little attention has focused on asking entrepreneurs themselves which policies are most important to their business. The George Small Business Political Sentiment Survey investigates the political issues that matter most to small businesses, drawing data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs.

“Small businesses are deeply attuned to the effect of politics on job creation and the economy,” said David Rehr, a lead researcher on the study with the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. “Entrepreneurs are feeling squeezed by the tight lending environment, and they want their elected leaders to curb the influence of money in politics.”

Some of the key findings for Detroit and Michigan include:

  • 44 percent of all Detroit small business owners rated the economy and jobs as the single most important factor for them in choosing a president.
  • Nationally, 39 percent of small businesses said that President Obama is the most supportive candidate of small business, while 31 percent said Governor Romney. 28 percent are undecided.
  • Michigan small businesses rated gas and fuel costs as the single most burdensome cost to their businesses – more than self-employment taxes or health care costs.
  • 93 percent of Michigan small businesses stated that small business incentives are important to the success of their business.
  • Among small business owners surveyed nationally, President Obama fared better than Governor Romney with businesses of five or fewer employees, 48 to 37 percent. The opposite was true among business of more than five employees, with Romney earning 49 percent to Obama’s 39 percent (among those registered and likely to vote).
  • 20 percent of Michigan small businesses stated that President Obama’s health care policy helps their business.
  • Only three percent of small businesses nationally rated taxes as the most important issue in their choice for president. Even among economic issues, tax policies were the top concern for less than six percent of small businesses.

“After a month-long survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, we have heard an unusually nuanced story about what really concerns them,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of “These entrepreneurs are an important barometer of our nation’s economic health and political sentiment. When job creators speak, we need to listen as closely as possible.”

The full survey results can be seen at and include full sets of rankings, dozens of easily searchable quotes from small businesses nationwide, state-by-state comparisons, and Census data comparing states’ and cities’ key demographics against those of other states and cities.