Majority of business owners support Trump over Biden: UBS

Erwin Oropesa

The presidential election is the top concern of business owners — and most of them want President Trump to win another term in the White House, according to a new survey from UBS.  

More than half – 53% – of business owners surveyed said they support Trump, while 47% said they support former Vice President Joe Biden.

The survey showed Washington is top of mind for business owners — 64% said the presidential election was their biggest concern, followed by politics, the national debt, COVID-19 and health care costs.  The biggest election issue for business owners is the economy, followed by COVID-19 management, job growth, health care and taxes.

Of those concerns, health care is the only issue on which business owners prefer Biden over Trump. Business owners prefer Trump on the economy, job growth and taxes. The group was split 50-50 over who would best manage the pandemic.

UBS: Business owners prefer Trump for the economy, Biden for healthcare.

Looking beyond the Nov. 3 election, business owners are most concerned about civil unrest. More taxes, mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, more regulation and trade uncertainty round out business owners’ top five concerns after the election. 

UBS surveyed 448 business owners with at least $1 million in annual revenue and at least one other employee, from Aug. 26-31. 

While business owners’ optimism about their own business has held steady, their outlook on the overall economy declined in August. Twenty-eight percent of business owners plan to hire more workers, while 12% plan to downsize and 60% plan to keep their workforce the same. 

Small business optimism, however, is beginning to rebound, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB Optimism Index increased 1.4 points in August to 100.2— slightly above the historical average, the group said on Tuesday.  Before the pandemic hit, the reading was at 104.5. It sank to 90.9 in April.

Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 8/23/20 Retail stores are seen shuttered in Manhattan. While many larger businesses have thrived, the smaller retail stores and restaurants have suffered greatly during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“Small businesses are working hard to recover from the state shutdowns and effects of COVID-19,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a statement. “We are seeing areas of improvement in the small business economy, as job openings and plans to hire are increasing, but many small businesses are still struggling and are uncertain about what the future will hold.”

The NFIB Uncertainty Index ticked up two points last month to 90, the second-highest reading since 2017. 

Twenty-one percent of small-business owners plan to create jobs in the next three months, up three points from July and up 20 points from April’s reading of 1%. Job openings also increased by 3 points, as 33% of firms reported at least one unfilled position. Twelve percent of business owners think now is a good time to expand, up 1 point from July.

Jessica Smith is a reporter for Yahoo Finance based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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