A Big Thumbs-Up for Small Business

Here’s some more good news for the little guy: in a recent poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the nonprofit Public Affairs Council, some 90 percent of adults have a good opinion of small business.

Approximately 1,750 respondents were contacted for their views on business and government.

Check this out:

• Some 88 percent reported having a favorable opinion of small business, in contrast to only 67 percent with a similar view of major companies and 41 percent who gave the federal government a thumbs-up.

• More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) said they had a “very favorable” view of small business, compared to just 16 percent who said the same of major companies.

• More than half (52 percent) said small business owners have high ethical standards, compared with just 8 percent who said the same about CEOs of major companies. The survey reported a rise in consumers’ preference for dealing with small local companies over large national or multinational ones:

• More than two-thirds (68 percent) said they’d rather deal with a local company even though they “might charge somewhat higher prices,” while only 29 percent preferred the large company.

• Nearly a quarter of respondents were sympathetic to the challenges a small business owner faces, with 22 percent saying they were concerned that large companies could use unfair tactics to make it tougher for small firms to compete.

• Participants pointed to small business as key to the economic well-being of the middle class. Says the report: “Small business is seen as more important than government, big business and unions in keeping the middle class economically healthy.”

• Just over half of respondents (51 percent) said small business should get the credit for supporting the middle class for the past 50 years, well ahead of their support for labor unions (19 percent), major companies (17 percent) and the government (11 percent).

• Projecting into the next 50 years, they again think small business will play a major role, with 49 percent predicting small business will be the most important. Only 19 percent thought major companies would do the heavy lifting, while 18 percent said the government, and just 11 percent named labor unions.