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Industry Study Shows Small-Business Pessimism

More than half of small businesses and manufacturers questioned in an industry-led survey said they blame either the Obama White House or Congress for the troubled economy and said they don’t see it turning around anytime soon.

Of 800 small business and manufacturers surveyed, 55 percent said the national economy is in a worse position for them to succeed than it was three years ago.

The survey, which was released today, was commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers and was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.

The study showed that two-thirds of the respondents believe economic uncertainty in the market makes it hard for them to grow and to hire more workers, for which they hold the Obama administration or Congress responsible.

The respondents said federal regulations and decisions issued by the White House or Congress have increased the level of uncertainty facing their companies.

“I think what the survey says to us is it confirms what we hear every day from small business owners and what our own internal data says, that a majority of our members and small business owners do believe the country is headed in the wrong direction,” said Dan Danner president and CEO of the NFIB. “They do believe that government policies are a big part of that.”

“The results of this survey paint an alarming picture,” said Jay Timmons president and CEO of the NAM.

Timmons said he believes that leaders “have a fundamental misunderstanding of our economy … and as a result small businesses and manufacturers see a deteriorating business climate.”

Of the 800 small businesses interviewed, 453 were small business owners and 347 were small manufacturer owners or lower level decision makers. The interviews were conducted from Aug. 13 to Sept. 4. Half were conducted by telephone and half were done on the Internet. Forty-six percent of the respondents identified as Republicans, 16 percent as independent and 36 percent as Democrat.

The survey comes as voters get ready to head to the polls in November. Interest groups have sought to make their voices heard and have also given money to support candidates that they believe will best serve their interests.

The results of the survey echo what Republicans have argued in their efforts to draw a distinction with Democrats. According to records kept by the Center for Responsive Politics, the NFIB has given overwhelmingly to Republican candidates in the 2012 election cycle.

Congress is expected to come back after the elections to deal with a raft of fiscal issues that are causing planning difficulties for small businesses, such as whether to extend tax the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that will expire at the end of the year.