Foreign Policy Drives Small Business Vote

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Oct. 22, 2004--While small business leaders are most concerned this election year with economic issues, the war in Iraq trumps all other matters when it comes time to cast their vote for president, according to a new study.

In a national online survey of over 500 small business owners and executives conducted in early October, respondents named healthcare, jobs, and inflation as the most important issues facing small business, but they cited the Iraq war as the top issue that will determine how they actually vote on Election Day. The study, which was released on Wednesday, was conducted by Interland, a provider of online services for small businesses.

When asked to identify the three most important issues facing small businesses in the U.S. today, respondents cited healthcare (65%), jobs (34%) and inflation (30%), followed in order by oil prices, education, outsourcing, Social Security, the federal deficit, domestic trade and local politics. The Iraq war and terrorism each tallied 11%, placing them near the bottom of the list, ahead of only foreign trade and the environment.

But when asked to identify from the same list the most important issue driving how they intend to vote in the presidential election, respondents chose the war in Iraq (23%), followed by terrorism (19%) and then healthcare (18 %).

The survey also examined how small business owners and executives get their political information, with 34% citing the Internet as their top media source for national political information. Twenty-six percent cited local or national television, while 18% said they got their political news from newspapers. Twelve percent said they don't use the media for national political information.

"So many small businesses use the Internet as a tool to market and run their business and communicate with their customers that a lot just stems from people having a computer near their desk all day using it to get news and information," said Mike Neumeier, an Interland spokesman. "You can also get deeply segmented news that suits your interest, and delve into a topic that really interests you more than you can with other forms of news."





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