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Nearly 75% of Small Business Owners Support Political Reforms


10/30/2014

Small Business Majority poll shows that small business owners support campaign finance reforms, want to improve electoral process overall.

Findings from a new public opinion poll, released October 30, 2014, show that small business owners believe big businesses have an unfair influence on government decisions and the political process—which gives them a competitive advantage over small firms—and they believe it’s time to take steps to improve the electoral process overall.

The poll, conducted Sept. 5-18, 2014, by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of Small Business Majority and with funding from Joyce, found more than three-fourths of small employers (77 percent) say big businesses have a significant impact on government decisions and the political process, whereas a mere 24 percent say small businesses have a significant impact on the process. A vast majority of small business owners (72 percent) say major changes are needed to the electoral system.

“Our current campaign finance laws benefit deep-pocketed corporations, which means that elected officials hear more from big business than small businesses like mine,” said Rebecca Zemans, owner of Rebecca Zemans Jewelry in Chicago, Illinois. “Common-sense campaign finance reforms would improve our political process so that the voices of everyone, not just big business, can be heard.”

Small employers overwhelmingly believe we need more transparency from special interest groups that finance election campaigns, with 93 percent of small business owners supporting requiring special interest groups that use paid TV and mail ads during elections to publicly disclose where their money comes from. Small businesses also support publicly financed campaigns: 85 percent of entrepreneurs support changing the way we finance election campaigns to using only small contributions from voters and a limited amount of public funds.

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“Small business owners are pragmatic, not ideological. And contrary to a long-held misconception, they are not reflexively anti-government,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. “They want government to understand their needs and respond in a constructive manner—and then act on it, by adopting policies that level the playing field with big business and bring fairness to our campaign finance laws.”

The survey responses reflect a bipartisan consensus, with a plurality of small business owners (48 percent) who identified as Republican, 32 percent as Democrat and 11 percent as independent or other.

The Joyce Foundation Democracy Program works to strengthen our democracy and balance political influence. We believe in informing and empowering citizens so they can participate in our democracy. The Foundation works to promote open and ethical government, fair and competitive elections, and an independent judiciary.

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