Poll shows plurality of small-business owners supporting gov't shutdown

Democrats and the White House warn that a government shutdown over the budget impasse and the fight over ObamaCare will damage the economy. Those on the front lines of the economy seem ready to make that sacrifice, at least for a while.  According to a poll last week from Pepperdine University, 48% of small-business owners back a government shutdown — some for as long as three months:


Down to the final days of the nation’s current spending plan, with negotiations over a new one at a standstill, nearly half of small business owners are in favor of shutting the government down, according to a new poll.

Researchers at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management conducted the survey, which found that 48 percent of business owners support at least a temporary government shutdown, compared to 42 percent who say policymakers should hurry up and strike a deal. Of the poll’s 1,387 respondents, more than 90 percent own businesses with no more than 200 workers.

Half of respondents said they could get behind a shutdown for up to a month, and nearly a third would support shuttering the government for up to three months.

Beyond that, three in four business owners worry their firms would start to be affected by the closure, and nearly all believe the economy would start to suffer. Among employers with less than $5 million in annual revenue, 41 percent said a shutdown of more three months would force them to pull back on their hiring plans.

Jazz mentioned this yesterday, but a short shutdown of a few days while the House and Senate haggle probably won’t mean much, either politically or economically.  The poll bears that out.  Almost nine in ten of respondents think that a shutdown of a single day will either have no impact (69%) or only a slightly negative impact (17%). After a week, that shifts to 44% and 29%, respectively, but still three-quarters thinking a shutdown will have a negligible impact on the economy, and at two weeks it’s 27% and 32%. At one month, though, it drops to 13% and 27%.


On the other hand, a longer period won’t result in job losses right away.  It takes 2 months to get out to 20% of respondents considering staff reductions. Even at 6 or more months, only 39% of small businesses believe a government shutdown would force them to lay off employees — although for companies of $100 million in revenue or more, the 50% mark comes at 5 months.

Republicans have to be cheered by this finding, too:

pepperdine-chartWhat do small businesses want? According to the charts, 63% want a one-year delay in ObamaCare’s implementation, while only 27% want it to go into effect tomorrow as scheduled.  Forty-seven percent want full repeal, while another 27% want revisions, for an overall opposition of 74%.  Sixty percent expect the law to force health care costs to rise, while only 11% believe those costs will go down.  Fifty-eight percent expect to reduce their benefits package, 49% expect to reduce bonuses, and 47% plan to pull back on future hiring as a result.

Small wonder they don’t mind a shutdown.

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John Stossel 6:41 PM on November 28, 2023
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