Poll Finds Small Business Viewed as Positive Influence

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (JR) -- A new Gallup poll finds the vast majority of Americans regard small business as a positive influence and feel it has "too little" influence on American life.

The survey, commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Business, also found most Americans predict it will be harder to start a successful business in the future. Competition from big firms, government intervention and lack of start-up funding are seen as the greatest threats to future small-business growth.

The poll of 1,018 adults, conducted May 19-26, found small business was the only one of eight social/economic sectors to gain majority support for a larger role in American life. While 55 percent of Americans feel small business has "too little influence" on the way things are going, only 3 percent say it exerts too much influence. "Colleges and universities" ranked a distant second: 36 percent of respondents said they exerted too little influence compared with 12 percent who felt they already had too much clout. Solid majorities perceive three of the eight sectors -- "television and movies," "big business" and "federal government" -- as having too much influence over American life. Respondents also rated "labor unions" as too influential overall with 38 percent, compared with 22 percent saying labor unions have "too little influence." Among the eight sectors, "science and technology" and "small business" received the highest approval ratings. Eighty-six percent and 85 percent of respondents, respectively, say they are primarily a positive influence on the way things are going in this country. "Colleges and universities" ranked third, with 81 percent giving them positive evaluations. "Religious organizations" ranked fourth at 71 percent. …