Presidential candidate Donald Trump is the overwhelming favorite of small business owners, according to a new Manta poll, with Hillary Clinton leading the field of Democratic hopefuls. Heading into the first primary election of the 2016 race to the White House, the outspoken businessman has a commanding lead over other Republicans and tops the former secretary of state among all candidates.
In a Manta poll of 2,527 small business owners who plan to vote in the primaries, 60% think Trump is the best Republican candidate for small business. Following far behind, 16% favor Ted Cruz, 6% prefer Ben Carson, and 5% favor Rubio.
“Entrepreneurs relate to Donald Trump because, like him, we write our own narrative. We turn conflict into opportunity,” said Cherie Corso, owner of G2 Organics and a Trump advocate. “The ups and downs of business are part of business. We saw Donald go through it all and keep going. That’s what he will do for this country.”
In the Democratic primary race, 56% of small business owners think Clinton is the best candidate for small business, and 40% favor Bernie Sanders.
Among all candidates, Trump has a significant edge over Clinton. In a potential preview of this fall’s general election matchup, Trump wins the vote of 38% of small business owners to Clinton’s 21%.
Trump’s lead has been gaining strength throughout the race. In a Manta poll following the first GOP primary debate in August 2015, 41% said that Trump was the best Republican for small business.
The candidate’s growing base of supporters includes traditionally moderate chamber-of-commerce Republicans, said Chris Bushong, tax partner at Paretis.
“They are frustrated and feel that the mainstream of both parties is more interested in power politics and self promotion than in listening to the concerns of American business,” said Bushong, who represents small- and medium-sized business owners and investors. “One client recently told me that while he can’t stand Donald Trump as a person, he believes he’s the only candidate who has any concept of what it takes to run a business in the face of punitive taxes and choking regulation.”
“I think we favor Trump over Hillary because of his tax policies, [which] will be highly beneficial to small businesses and increase our profit margins,” added Lisa Chu, owner of Black N Bianco Kids Clothing. “Small business owners are looking for a president to improve the economy. Trump has the business credentials and experience other candidates lack.”
Poll methodology: Between 1/27/16 and 2/1/16, Manta surveyed 8,292 small business owners. The margin of error is +/- 1.06 percentage points.