Eight in 10 Executives Say Business Is Better: Poll

September 2, 2018 Updated: September 3, 2018

Business is better today than it was two years ago for 83 percent of executives surveyed in an August poll by Zogby Analytics.

Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees are most optimistic about the booming economy, with 85 percent of executives saying that business is better, compared to 2016. Large companies with more than 5,000 employees are slightly less enthusiastic, though an overwhelming majority–79 percent–say business is better now than it was two years ago.

Executives also are optimistic about the future, with 76 percent saying their business will be growing in the next year.

President Donald Trump pushed through sweeping tax cuts for individuals and corporations, fueling a powerful economic recovery. The U.S. gross domestic product rose 4.2 percent in the second quarter this year, the best quarter since 2014.

Trump has also taken steps to cut regulations and reduce the red tape tied to approving municipal infrastructure projects. The White House is also taking an aggressive stance to renegotiate trade deals. That approach bore fruit last week when Trump and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that they have reached a tentative trade deal.

However, in a surprise blow to Republicans, who have supported Trump’s economic agenda, the poll found that more business executives believe that Democrats support business more. Asked which party supports business more, 38 percent of executives said the Democrats do while 34 percent picked Republicans. More than a quarter—28 percent—of the executives surveyed said they were not sure.

“Traditionally, during a midterm election, the majority of ‘not sure’ voters opt for the party not in power, but the economy, which is doing well by traditional standards, could help Republicans blunt the damage of a ‘blue wave’ come November,” Zogby Analytics wrote in an analysis of the poll.

The disparity was even greater on an election question, where 47 percent of executives said they will be voting Democrat and 34 percent said they will vote Republican.

“This is traditionally not the best way to assess the outcome of the midterms and each party’s chances, but business sentiment is with the democrats—small, medium and large sized businesses say they will vote democratic,” Zogby wrote.

Trump will campaign intensively this fall to help Republicans maintain majorities in the House and Senate. The president will need the GOP in power in both chambers to keep rolling out his agenda.

Trump has already mentioned passing the second round of tax cuts. The key provision in Tax Cuts 2.0 would be to make individual tax cuts permanent.

When the president signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, the bill included a permanent cut of the corporate tax from 35 to 21 percent. But the individual cuts had to be made temporary in order to secure passage of the bill.

More than 700 companies have issued special bonuses, expanded benefits, and raised pay for their employees as a direct result of the corporate tax cut, according to Americans for Tax Reform (pdf).

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