Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may be the frontrunners in the race for U.S. president, but it's Bernie Sanders who captures the imagination of many business owners.

That's according to an informal poll that Inc. conducted on Facebook Thursday in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses on February 1. In the poll, 41 percent of the 327 Inc. readers who responded said Sanders is the best presidential candidate for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Trump placed second with 27 percent of the vote, while Clinton came in third, with just 13 percent of the vote.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who garnered seven percent, finished in fourth place, followed by Texas senator Ted Cruz, with just three percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio barely registered, with  just 1 percent of the vote.

Curiously, while Sanders has a sizable lead over Trump in this poll, businesspeople weighing in with comments, without exception, said they do not think Sanders is the best man for the job.

"I think Bernie's a helluva guy and has a lot of good ideas, but clearly he missed a couple days of class when they were going over economics at the U. of Chicago," writes Jeremy Thornton, an account executive at Lamar Advertising, a small ad firm in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

Similarly, Gary Rasmussen, a realtor for Silvercreek Realty Group, in Meridian, Idaho, comments: "Bernie knows NOTHING about being an entrepreneur."

Sanders, a self-professed socialist, has captured momentum with voters on the left, much the way Trump has reeled in voters on the right with positions that go against their respective parties' centers. Among other things, Sanders would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. He would also move the health care system in the U.S. to a single-payer plan, which would free small business owners from the burden of having to pay for such benefits. To pay for the change, however, payroll taxes would increase significantly.

Sanders would also raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, as well as Wall Street bankers. And he favors creating a special tax on speculative activities that would pay for free college education for students.

While Inc.'s Facebook poll is not intended to be a perfect representation of business owners' sentiment--for one thing, some surveys suggest that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than non-users--it's an interesting conundrum why the left-leaning senator did so well.

One reason could be that entrepreneurs find some of Trump's policies too extreme, even if they admire his pluck and business sense. In recent months, the real estate mogul has staked out fringe positions, for example proclaiming the need to build a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants. He has also made frequent, incendiary comments about women and Muslims, and those views could be deal breakers for many entrepreneurs.

"I like Trump's business acumen, but I wish he had Sander's [sic] life perspective on several key issues," writes Rick Howe, an entrepreneur, who owns an event staffing firm in Toccoa, Georgia.

 

Published on: Jan 29, 2016