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Small Business Confidence Hits Low in CNBC Poll

  • Small business confidence hits all-time low in CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll
  • Drop in confidence affected partially by ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lack of stimulus, but also by fears that a Joe Biden presidency will result in higher taxes and more regulations
  • Confidence falls sharply among Republican respondents, but increases among Democrats and Independents

A small business confidence poll which has been issued by CNBC and SurveyMonkey for three years fell to a record low, driven by pessimism among conservative-leaning respondents. The poll also highlighted the political divide in the United States, as Democratic and Independent respondents were more confident following the results of the presidential election.

The survey was issued to 2,200 small business owners between Nov. 10 and 17. Media outlets declared Democratic candidate Joe Biden to be the winner of the presidential race on Nov. 8, although President Donald Trump has not conceded and has made several unsuccessful attempts to challenge the election results in the courts.

The overall confidence rating among respondents stood at 48 on a 100-point scale. This was one point below the previous low, set during the second quarter of 2020 as lockdowns ordered during the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of businesses to close or radically shift their business models.

Politically, the pool of respondents skewed conservative with 60 percent identifying as Republican or Republican leaning. The confidence rating among this group fell from 57 in the third quarter to 32, with 75 percent saying they thought Biden’s tax policy will be harmful to them and 72 percent saying they thought his regulatory policies would be harmful.

Overall, 53 percent of respondents worried about the potential for higher taxes and 49 percent worried about greater regulations. Fifty-five percent said they thought Biden would be bad for small businesses, while 34 percent thought he would be good.

The confidence rating among Democratic respondents rose from 46 in the third quarter to 58. Just 15 percent of these respondents thought Biden’s tax policy would be harmful, with only 11 percent worrying about regulations.

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