Hawaii Small Businesses Rate Economy, Ethics in Government as Most Important Election Issues

Elections 2012
Illustration by Emily Metcalf
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Elections 2012
Illustration by Emily Metcalf

Washington, DC – The George Washington University and Thumbtack.com have released new data showing that Hawaii small businesses overwhelmingly rank the economy and jobs as the most important factor in choosing a president. Surprisingly, however, ethics, honesty and corruption in government rated as the second-most important issue for small businesses in Hawaii.

Although both presidential campaigns claim to promote policies that benefit small businesses, too little attention has focused on asking entrepreneurs themselves which policies are most important to their business. The George Washington-Thumbtack.com Small Business Political Sentiment Survey is unique in investigating the political issues that matter most to small businesses themselves, drawing data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs.


“Small businesses are deeply attuned to the effect of politics on job creation and the economy,” said Dr. David Rehr, a lead researcher on the study with the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. “Entrepreneurs are feeling squeezed by the tight lending environment, and they want their elected leaders to curb the influence of money in politics.”

Some of the key findings for Hawaii include:

  • 31% of all Hawaii small business owners rated the economy and jobs as the single most important factor for them in choosing a president.
  • Nationally, 39% of small businesses say that President Obama is the most supportive candidate of small business, with 31% saying the same of Governor Romney. And 28% are still not sure which candidate is more supportive of small business.
  • Hawaii small businesses rate health care costs as the single most burdensome cost to their businesses – more burdensome than even personal income tax or gas and fuel costs.
  • 68% of Hawaii small businesses stated that state small business incentives are important to the success of their business.
  • Among small business owners surveyed nationally, President Obama fared better than Governor Romney with businesses of five or fewer employees, 48% to 37%. The opposite was true among business of more than five employees, with Romney earning 49% to Obama’s 39% (among those registered and likely to vote).
  • 20% of Hawaii small businesses indicated that President Obama’s health care policy helps their business.
  • Taxes do not appear to be a decisive factor for small businesses in this election, with only 3% of small businesses nationally rating it as the most important issue in their choice for president. Even among economic issues, tax policy was the top concern for less than 6% of small businesses.

“After a month-long survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, we have heard an unusually nuanced story about what really concerns them,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “These entrepreneurs are an important barometer of our nation’s economic health and political sentiment. When job creators speak, we need to listen as closely as possible.”

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings, dozens of easily searchable quotes from small businesses nationwide, state-by-state comparisons, and Census data comparing states’ and cities’ key demographics against those of other states and cities.

“We need more compassion from the Veterans’ Administration Small Business section for disabled veterans like me trying to operate a small business. I was denied assistance without proper justification.”

Survey methodology

Thumbtack.com surveyed 6,164 small businesses across the United States. The survey asked questions about political issues and business costs that were important to small business, such as:

  • “What is the single most important issue in your choice for president?”
  • “Thinking specifically about the economy, what is the most important economic issue in your choice for president?” and
  • “How important are the following issues to the success of your business?”

The full methodology paper can be found here.

Submitted by Thumbtack.com – a place where you can hire help locally. More than 275,000 small businesses and freelancers have listed their services on Thumbtack nationwide.





  1. Ethics should be the first thing to be considered. Lack of ethics brings us in this situations that we see world wide and I'm sure we all agree that we are not living in a dream world.

  2. Ethics are very important and we don't pay to much attention to this. I've studied ethics and I can really say that it has made a difference in my way of thinking and perceiving things. I think children should be introduced to some of these concepts in school.

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