America's Micro-Businesses Feeling Optimistic into 2013

With just days to go before President Obama and Governor Romney face off once again in their second presidential debate, a new poll is showing the very smallest businesses in America leaning left in this year's election.

The survey of primarily micro-businesses, those with one-to-five employees, shows strong support for President Obama, with 43% of respondents planning to vote for him this year, compared to 35% planning to vote for Romney. Twelve percent said they were still undecided, even with the election just over three weeks away.

The survey was conducted this week by SohoOS, a provider of online management tools for more than 900,000 micro-businesses, among 592 respondents.

Micro-businesses that responded said the economy, taxes and health care were "very important" in their decision-making in the election (70%), and 45% favor Obama over Romney (40%) on the issue of taxes.

Going into 2013, more than 62% said they felt optimistic, with more than 22% expressing they were very confident about the economic outlook of the business in the year to come.

A second poll conducted this past week on behalf of the National Association for the Self-Employed, the Small Business Majority, and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, found similar results as far as optimism is concerned. The poll focused on businesses with 10 employees or less, and found that more than half reported an increase in sales or revenues in the past two years, and that 50% plan to hire in the next two years.

Fifty-percent of those in the NASE poll said their business is doing well, compared to 10% who said they are not. More than half employed a contractor or 1099 employee in the past year, and nearly one-third have hired a full-time employee in the past year. Those business owners under age 40 were even more optimistic, with 67% reporting they are doing well.

Many of those surveyed for the Small Business Majority and NASE were also micro-businesses, and refute the notion that this group is made up of merely “hobbyists,” the poll said. Instead, nearly 75% of those surveyed report their micro-business as their sole source of income, and 57% said they have been in business for a decade or more.

Major issues for the businesses in NASE’s survey include a need for marketing and sales services (48%), tax preparation services (27%) and technology (21%).

However when it comes to candidates, nearly half (49%) identified they are Republican or lean Republican. Thirty-five percent said they are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 1% said they are independent, and 7% identified as “other.”