[STUDY] U.S. Small Business Owners on the 2020 Presidential Election

In September 2020, Vistaprint conducted a non-partisan survey through OnePoll of 500 U.S. small business owners to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings and intended actions leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election.

More than half of small business owners said the upcoming election is the MOST important of their lifetime. The study found that a fifth believe their company could be in jeopardy depending on the political outcome.

For 11 percent, this is their first time voting as a small business owner and for more than one in 20 it’s their first time voting in a while.

The research found 95 percent of entrepreneurs plan to vote in the upcoming election – with 55 percent doing so in person and 40 percent via a mail-in. And 37 percent said an election has never been more important for small businesses.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and their votes are paramount in every election, but especially this year. For more than 20 years, Vistaprint has been the marketing and design partner for millions of small businesses across the U.S. As their partner, it is important for us to understand how they are feeling going into the upcoming election and how the events and policies of the past six months have impacted them,” said Vistaprint North America Market Direct Erin Shea. “This survey helps to shine a light on the topics most important to small business owners along with addressing their concerns about casting their ballot in this election.

The study found of those planning to vote in person, 77 percent hope mandatory mask-wearing will be in place, while 75 percent want to see social distancing in place, well more than half would like to see sanitation stations (59 percent) and appropriate directional or informational signage (58 percent).

Of the five percent not planning to vote, top reasons for not casting their ballot include:

  1. being fed up with politics in general (41 percent)
  2. feeling like their vote doesn’t matter (33 percent)
  3. not liking any of the options (15 percent)

More than a quarter said better candidates would compel them to vote, while 30 percent would be persuaded if they ‘knew’ it would make a difference.

COVID-19 and the Election

Fifty-four percent of respondents planning to vote via mail-in are doing so because they are worried about being exposed to COVID-19 if they physically go to their polling station.

Of those polled, 18 percent were eligible for the PPP and 58 percent applied. Almost three quarters did so in order to help their employees by keeping their salaries, wages and commissions and 40 percent used it to pay the rent or mortgage for their premises. But 31 percent of those who didn’t apply claimed it was too complicated and almost a tenth weren’t aware of the PPP at all.

A further sixth said they may have to make some big changes to their company depending on the voting result.

However, there appears to be a silver lining for some small business owners. Following the pandemic, a positive 74 percent are confident their business will survive – citing policies they feel have had a positive impact.

The pandemic has devastated communities across the nation, and we have seen that small businesses have been hit particularly hard. Participation in this upcoming election is pivotal and is reflected in the survey as nearly all respondents (95 percent) intend to vote in November,” said Vistaprint North America Market Direct Erin Shea. “To show our support, Vistaprint has created a collection of Voter face masks and signage, along with donating more than 500,000 masks to encourage safe voting this year.

View the full infographic here.