Support for President Joe Biden among small business owners fell sharply in the fourth quarter, especially among independents, a survey released Tuesday showed.
Just 34 percent of small business owners say they approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president, down from 40 percent in the previous quarter and 43 percent at the start of the year, according to the latest CNBC|Momentive Small Business Survey.
Small business owners tend to be Republicans learning, so its no surprise that Biden is more disapproved than approved. What makes the fourth-quarter polling results so startling is that virtually all of the decline in support for Biden came from independents.
Just nine percent of Republican small business owners say they approve of Biden, while 89 percent of Democrats do. Those figures are nearly unchanged from previous surveys.
Among independents, however, support for Biden fell from 51 percent to just 33 percent.
Fifty-nine percent of independents say Biden has been bad for small businesses and 60 percent say he has been bad for the economy.
Inflation is a top concern. Seventy-five percent of small business owners say they are experiencing higher supply costs, an increase from 70 percent in the third quarter. Fifty-eight percent say their business has been affected by supply chain disruptions, up from 55 percent.
Thirty-four percent of small business owners said inflation is the biggest risk to their business, followed by supply chain disruptions at 23 percent and Covid at 17 percent. The survey was conducted by Momentive between November 10-16, 2021 among 2,078 self-identified small business owners, which was before news of the omicron variant.
Thirty-six percent of small business owners say the Biden administration’s Build Back Better bill will have a negative impact on their businesses, compared to only 24 percent who say it will have a positive impact. Fifty-two percent of small business owners don’t think that any of the elements of the Build Back Better bill would help their business.
Other Biden administration policies are also expected to have a negative effect. Sixty percent of small business owners now expect government regulations to have a negative effect on their business in the next 12 months, a new high. Sixty-three expect changes in tax policy to have a negative effect on their business in the next 12 months, also a new high. Forty-nine percent said they expect changes in trade policy to have a negative effect on their business in the next 12 months, that was also a new high.
There was slight evidence that labor market tightness may be easing. The share of small business owners who say they have open roles that they have been unable to fill for at least three months fell to 28 percent, down slightly from 31 percent in the third quarter.