Romney's Other 47% - His Small Business Support

By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Business owners are leaning toward Mitt Romney this presidential election, with 47% supporting him over President Obama, who trails with only 35%.

The rest are either undecided or not voting. Romney's lead was detailed in a survey published Tuesday by online business directory Manta, which polled 1,854 owners of small companies nationwide.

That Romney is ahead with business owners is no surprise. Having founded and run private equity firm Bain Capital, Romney has cast himself as the pro-business candidate who champions lower taxes, less regulation and smaller government -- the typical preferences of the average business owner.

Those entrepreneurs who are attracted to Obama's policies often cite a need for better access to health care through the Affordable Care Act, which Romney says he'd unravel. Obama supporters also say they don't mind increasing taxes on high income earners as long they result in better investment for the nation's infrastructure.

While more business owners support Romney, 57% think Obama will be reelected -- they say he's more in touch with average Americans.

Linda Gramera, an interior design in Durango, Colo., will be voting for Romney. She feels Obama has mishandled the economy and that her store, Scrimshaws, has suffered for it.

She's worried about Obama's plan to raise taxes on high income earners because it would target her clientele: the rich.

"He was so full of promise, but he's really disappointed everybody," Gramera said of Obama. "He hasn't been a very good leader. People are scared to death about the economy and the direction this country is headed."

Manta's poll hinted at the extent of the hardship Scrimshaws and others face. When asked if business is better now than four years ago, only 24% said their enterprises experienced any growth.

Gramera has hope -- with Romney. Some of her clients are wealthy employees of energy companies who stand to benefit from Romney's promise to open up more land for oil and natural gas drilling.

On the other side of the spectrum is Anne Landman, who supports Obama because keeping his health care reform alive is her top concern.

She's a solo entrepreneur in Grand Junction, Colo., where she builds dry erase boards for window displays with her company, Thought On Board. Health insurance got very expensive when she lost her other job at the start of this year, and she had to fight her insurance company to lower monthly rates from $416 to $350.

"It's a battle dealing with health insurance companies, and President Obama is the only one who's had the guts to address this head on," Landman said.

She hopes health care reform will lower costs by forcing everyone to pay into a unified system. During her 15 years as a respiratory therapist, Landman said she routinely saw people overpay for services to make up for those who didn't carry any insurance.

"People who have health insurance are subsidizing care for those who aren't able to pay," she said.

Landman hopes the creation of state insurance exchanges will prevent insurance costs from getting in the way of her entrepreneurial efforts.

"I hope to have employees some day, and I don't want them to worry about going broke to pay their medical bills."


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