Scientific Opinion Poll: Small Business Owners Say Government Doesn’t Understand Their Concerns, Need Help With Healthcare Costs and Other Challenges

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Small firms in four states support a range of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their government officials


Washington, D.C.—From town councils to Washington, D.C., policymakers at all levels use the problems small businesses face as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in four states reveals small business owners feel their government officials don’t fully understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs.  

The survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Virginia, found only 12% of small businesses feel their state and federal government officials have a strong understanding of their needs. The top three reasons why they feel government officials don’t understand them are: they are too influenced by special interests, they primarily care about larger businesses and they don’t take time to listen to or understand the views of business owners like them. 

“In my experience as both a small business owner and coach, government officials do not always understand the needs of entrepreneurs,” said Kristy Daniels Jackson, CEO of DK Solutions in St. Louis. “I am a woman of color, and government must take the time to include diverse entrepreneurs like me to discern our true needs. If officials would listen, they would see we need connections to all kinds of business resources, including equitable access to lending as well as funding for organizations that support entrepreneurs.”

One example of how government officials may have misunderstood the needs of small businesses is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While the new tax law was billed as a win for small firms, only 35% of respondents report that the law has had a positive impact on their business. 

Small business owners identified several actions government could take to address the needs of small businesses like theirs. Respondents showed strong support for policies that would address healthcare affordability and access, including: 

  • Increasing federal subsidies that help make healthcare more affordable for people who make under 400% of the federal poverty level (less than $100,400 for a family of 4) (71% agree).  

  • Requiring all individuals to maintain a basic level of health insurance (65% agree). 

  • Allowing individuals to buy in to Medicare or Medicaid at no net cost to the government (78% agree).

Additionally, more than half of respondents (52%) feel access to capital is a problem for small businesses, and they support legislation that would address predatory practices in small business lending by requiring certain disclosures in small business loan products (79%).

“Small business owners want policymakers to listen to them and understand their concerns, and then act on them,” said Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer. “If government officials want to support our nation’s job creators, they must address barriers to entrepreneurship and enact policies that will level the playing field for small enterprises.”

The poll reflects a survey of 400 small business owners with 1-100 employees in Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin. The margin of error is +/-5.0%.

For the full poll report, please visit: 


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Press State: