By Rieva Lesonsky

What are small businesses’ feelings heading into the midterm elections? A survey of 528 small business customers by Sage software found some interesting results.

First, small business owners are passionately engaged with this election: 93 percent plan to vote tomorrow. And business concerns are trumping party lines: How a politician voted on recent legislation (61 percent) and concerns about their business (52 percent) are more likely to determine how business owners will vote than party affiliation (33 percent).

Here’s some more of what Sage found:

  • Only 7 percent agreed with a statement that the government is doing enough to help small businesses.
  • 78 percent said the economy has negatively affected their business in the past 6 months.  Small businesses in the South Atlantic region reported the highest level of negative effect (86 percent).  Of those negatively affected, 40 percent think it will take more than 12 months for business conditions to improve.
  • Just 16 percent said their business has benefited from the government stimulus funding distributed as a result of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Nonprofit organizations have realized the most benefit (42 percent).
  • 23 percent of small businesses are familiar with the content of the Small Business Jobs Act recently signed into law.  Among those familiar with the Act, just 27 percent feel it will be helpful.
  • Small businesses rated the $33 billion tax incentive program as the most helpful element of the Small Business Jobs Act (44 percent said this will be very or somewhat helpful).  The parts of the Act related to lending ($30 billion lending fund, SBA loans) are seen as less helpful.
  • 54 percent of small businesses are familiar with the content of the Health Care Bill passed in March 2010.  Of those familiar with the Bill’s content, 65 percent believe it will have a negative effect on their business.
  • 75 percent are aware of the 1099 Provision outlined in Section 9006 in the Health Care Bill that requires all businesses to issue a 1099 to every business from which they purchased more than $600 worth of goods or services throughout the year.  Fifty-five percent of small businesses said they make such purchases from more than 50 vendors.