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2014 Poll of Small Business Owners

In 2014, ASBC is continuing its polling of small business owners nationwide. Over the course of the year, polling will cover several different policy areas:

Earlier polling addressed:


Small business owners recognize that clean water is crucial for their companies, and for the economy at large. Clear majorities support strong regulations to protect waterways, particularly a federal proposal currently under consideration. Read the complete polling report in English or Spanish.

  • Most business owners support federal protections of American waterways, with 80% favoring rules protecting upstream headwaters as proposed in the EPA's “Waters of the US” rule. That support crossed political lines: along with 91% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 78% of Republicans supported that proposal.
  • A strong majority, 71%, said that clean water protections are necessary to ensure economic growth. Only six percent disagreed with that statement. Even when both sides of the argument were presented, about 60% of small business owners supported stronger clean water regulations.
  • Two-thirds of small business owners, 67%, were concerned that water pollution could harm their business in the future.
  • 62% believe that government regulation is needed to prevent water pollution.

RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE (with Business for a Fair Minimum Wage)

The federal minimum wage was last increased five years ago, in July 2009, to $7.25 an hour. A striking 61% of small business employers nationwide support increasing it to $10.10. This finding is higher than reported in previous small business polling, indicating growing support for the increase. Read the complete poll report, produced with Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Small business owners believe a higher minimum wage at the scale proposed would bring several benefits. The poll found:

  • 58% of small business employers say that raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power.
  • 56% of small business employers say raising the minimum wage would help the economy.
  • 53% of small business owners agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.

Small business owners are less partisan than Congress on the minimum wage. Contrary to common perception, Republican small business owners are evenly split – with 49% against and 49% in favor of increasing the minimum wage and adjusting it to keep up with the cost of living. Not surprisingly, support for raising the federal minimum is stronger among Democratic respondents, with 84% favoring, and independents, with 61% favoring.  Also, small business support for raising the federal minimum wage is strong across all regions of the United States.


Small business owners are concerned about the impact climate change will have on their businesses - in some cases, they have already seen it - and they support federal action to address it by limiting carbon emissions from power plants. Read the complete polling report in English or Spanish

  • Most business owners are concerned about climate change, regardless of whether the issue is characterized as “carbon pollution” or “climate change”. Majorities of business owners said they were concerned about “carbon pollution” (57 percent) and “climate change” (53 percent).
  • More than half of all business owners (53 percent) believe climate change will adversely affect their business. Of that, 19 percent - nearly one in five - say that extreme weather events associated with climate change already have affected their operations.
  • A clear majority, 64 percent, say that government regulation is needed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, compared to 29 percent who want companies to be able to regulate themselves. Even when asked to consider supporting and opposing views together, 50 percent of business owners support limiting emissions from power plants, compared to 28 percent who oppose limits. Meanwhile, 57 percent feel that the biggest emitters, like power plants, should make the most significant cuts in carbon emissions, rather than have all businesses cut emissions equally.


In March, 2013 ASBC and the Main Street Alliance commissioned a scientific poll of 515 small business owners nationwide. The poll covered their views on several different policy areas: