COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwired - Apr 22, 2015) - A series of new polls from Manta's small business community shows that 2015 is shaping up to be a politically charged year for small businesses -- from Indiana to presidential candidates to the legalization of marijuana. Among 2016 presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton has the highest approval with 42 percent of small business owners' support, marking a significant shift among small business owners, who have traditionally swayed Republican and even as recently as August 2014 ranked Hillary Clinton in third place behind prospective GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Rand Paul.

With Romney's decision not to run in 2016, Republicans are torn between the remaining contenders, with Rand Paul leading at 17 percent, followed by Marco Rubio (12 percent) and Ted Cruz (11 percent). Those with the most ground to make up with small business owners are Republicans Jeb Bush (nine percent) and Chris Christie (five percent), followed by Democrats Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley, both tied at two percent.

The presidential election is not the only issue on the small business owner's would-be ballot, however. Complex matters like health care, new legislation on religious freedom and marijuana legalization are shaping the landscape for small business entrepreneurs, as well as continued concern over competitive pressure from big brand businesses.

Losing My Religion? Indiana Law Fuels Furious Debate

The state of Indiana has become the subject of one of the most heated arguments in recent years concerning a business's right to refuse service. Nationwide, the response has been fast and furious on both sides, and small business owners are split. When asked whether they would support a similar initiative to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act in their own state, a slim majority (53 percent) said that they would not.

Unaffordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been similarly controversial, particularly among small business owners tackling changes in premiums and new coverage requirements. Health care remains a pain point for small business owners five years after the ACA was signed into law.

"Obamacare" is not yet in full effect for many small businesses, but they're already feeling the squeeze; 59 percent of small businesses don't offer health insurance because it's too expensive and, of those that do, 77 percent saw premiums increase since their last renewal. For those not offering health insurance, the impact on growth and hiring can be severe; 24 percent of small business owners said they have lost potential employees to other job opportunities because they did not offer health insurance.

High Times for Small Business

This year and next, several additional states are expected to follow Colorado and Washington's lead in decriminalizing marijuana. When asked about the decriminalization of marijuana, small businesses are mixed about the new industry and its opportunities -- 29 percent said that yes, legalized or decriminalized marijuana would be a boon to local small businesses, while 32 percent dissented and 39 percent felt unsure.

When it comes to drug testing, Manta's polls revealed a disconnect between consumers and business owners. Most respondents who do not own a small business (59 percent) reported that they would not patron a small business that didn't drug test its employees, even if marijuana is legalized or decriminalized. Of small business owners, 42 percent report that they will either begin or continue their current practice of drug testing if marijuana is legalized in their state.

Support for Small Business in a Risky Environment

Small business owners report that they could not survive without their passion and determination. However, even among those willing to take on the challenge of starting a business, a few industries are reserved for the bravest.

When asked which types of small businesses owners would never start due to the high risks involved, restaurants, bakeries or other food services were deemed most risky, with 31 percent of small business owners unwilling to start a new food service venture. Other risky businesses as cited by small business owners include:

  • Specialty retailers (18 percent)
  • Homes for the elderly and other community care facilities (14 percent)
  • Fitness and recreational sports centers (14 percent)
  • Real estate services, e.g. real estate agents, appraisers, property managers (10 percent)

"It takes a lot of bravery to start or sustain a small business," said John Swanciger, CEO, Manta. "It's hard work, and you need all the support you can get. Especially now, faced with an unpredictable economy and mounting pressures from bigger brands, Manta's community resources level the playing field for this generation of small business entrepreneurs and beyond."

Manta exists for those who take the leap. More than 30,000 businesses join Manta's small business community each month to tap into the power of the only platform that directly addresses their most pressing challenges. Today, Manta launched a set of new tools to address some of small businesses' biggest pain points, from big business competition to problems with cash flow and difficulty scaling sales.

Manta provides a view into the mindset of today's small business owner by regularly polling members of its active community of two and a half million small business members. For the full results and methodology of these polls, please contact manta (at) highwirepr (dot) com. For more information on how Manta can empower your small business to succeed today, please visit

About Manta
Manta empowers small business owners to succeed on their own terms by helping them stand out, connect with customers and grow their companies. Our solutions include a small business directory with millions of unique monthly visitors, valuable content and a suite of products to manage critical business needs. We strive to inform and inspire through learning opportunities, proprietary research, and a robust online community for dialogue and collaboration. Thousands of business owners join Manta each month. Visit to learn why.

Contact Information:

Margaret Farrell
(415) 963-4174 x 8
Manta (at) highwirepr (dot) com