The outcome of the presidential election surprised a lot of people including pollsters and the media. But two weeks after one of the biggest political upsets in modern U.S. history, it's worth reflecting on how forecasters so badly misread the outcome.
In the weeks leading up to the election, almost every national poll overstated Hillary Clinton's popular vote advantage, leading many to believe she would inevitably win the Electoral College. However, in the final two weeks, Clinton's apparent lead narrowed within several key battleground states and fell within many surveys' margins of error. What's more, many polls failed to adequately account for Trump's supporter base (i.e. the large number of rural voters and the "shy Trump supporters").
Throughout the race, one of Donald Trump's key supporter bases included small business owners, most of whom never wavered in their support for the business mogul. Prior to the election, BizBuySell surveyed more than 2,000 small business buyers and sellers. Across the board, buyers and sellers said they would feel more optimistic under a Trump presidency than a Clinton presidency. In fact, 54 percent of buyers and 57 percent of sellers believed Trump would most improve the small business environment. In comparison, only 31 percent of buyers and 27 percent of sellers believed Clinton would best benefit small businesses. These numbers foreshadowed the large voter support that ultimately propelled Trump to victory.
Election Outcome Could Impact the Business-for-Sale Market
Given the divisiveness of this year's election, it's perhaps not too surprising that a significant number of buyers and sellers said the outcome would impact their ownership plans. A third (33 percent) of prospective buyers said they'd be more likely to purchase a small business if Trump won. At the same time, a number (16%) of owners who opposed Trump said they would be more likely to sell if he was elected. Similarly, 15 percent of buyers said they would be less likely to buy under a President Trump.
On the other hand, had Hillary Clinton won, one in five sellers said they would be more likely to sell their business and 31 percent of buyers said they would be less likely to enter small business ownership. Time will tell whether this was simply emotion talking or whether Trump's presidency will actually encourage more to enter the small business market. Transaction numbers for the final quarter of 2016 and the first few of 2017 will give better insight into how Trump will impact the market.
What Small Business Owners Are Hoping for Under a President Trump
As we move forward, the country's 28 million small business owners will be closing watching Trump's policies. The top political issues small business buyers and sellers listed in order of importance included tax reform, health care, economic policies, and jobs, according to the same BizBuySell survey.
President-elect Donald Trump has already outlined a number of initiatives in his 100-day plan, many of which directly address these concerns. His top priorities include repealing Obamacare, enacting the Trump tax plan, tightening immigration and renegotiating trade deals. Last month, Trump assembled a Small Business Advisory Panel, indicating a commitment to addressing small business concerns. The panel, which will offer advice to Trump, outlined a list of the small business community's top priorities.
How Trump's presidency will actually impact small business owners remains to be seen, but many are optimistic for positive regulatory and economic change.