Voters wait in line to enter a polling station and cast their votes on the first day of the state’s personal early voting for the general election in Durham, North Carolina, United States, on October 15, 2020.
Jonathan Drake | Reuters
Economic stimulus is paramount to many small business owners – especially after the Supreme Court’s confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Monday that Congress was suspended by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell until November 9.
For many, the October adjournment makes any prospect of virus-related aid virtually impossible until after next Tuesday’s presidential election.
“Many of my friends around the country have already gone out of business,” said Bryony Rebouf, a small business owner in Boone, North Carolina. “And we could have a very different conversation about how many people to throw out of my shop who aren’t wearing masks … but that damage is constant; it’s regular.”
Rebouf owns Bluebird Exchange – a North Carolina children’s show business that only had six part-time employees at the start of the pandemic and has since scaled back its headcount. She applied for a local grant when the shutdowns went into effect in March, but later applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and then a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, of which she received $ 12,500.
The Paycheck Protection Program, launched by the CARES Act and a $ 2.2 trillion relief passed in March, offered small businesses low-interest loans of up to $ 10 million. A total of 4.9 million PPP loans were approved, which corresponds to funding of $ 525 billion, according to the SBA.
The Main Street carnage is expected to spark a strong turnout next Tuesday as small business owners cast their vote for the candidate they believe will best represent their interests, small business experts agree. And they’re a force to be reckoned with when you consider that there are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S. that power 44% of all economic activity, according to the SBA Office of Advocacy.
Entrepreneurs vote in large numbers – 95% of small business owners regularly vote in national competitions, according to the National Small Business Association – and the population is conservative. Forty percent of small business owners identify as Republicans, versus 29 percent as Democrats and another 25 percent as independent. An increasing proportion of entrepreneurs indicate that their voting is more polarized due to issues such as taxes, economic and trade policy, and social justice.
“I think there are more variables in this election than in the recent election,” Kevin Kuhlman, vice president of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, told CNBC recently. “The political differences are profound, and we have the pandemic, which is creating uncertainty and requiring additional financial support. There are many short-term and long-term problems that would consider and make a decision more difficult.”
Fears after the elections
“I believe that after the election results, many small business owners will reassess their future,” said Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “They have operated on the fringes and many are in a hole or just getting through. If they believe economic uncertainty, the length of the pandemic and the incentive stalemate persist, we could see many, many additional businesses closing in the coming months. ”
Rebouf said she used her loan money to pay rent and payroll for two to three months. She also said that she voted for former Vice President Joe Biden early on.
“If there is a blue wave … I think they will take care of people financially so they can stay home and do what is safe,” she said. “If things stayed the way they are, with Democrats in control of the House, Republicans in control of the Senate, and President Trump re-elected … I think the House would let anything happen just about something to have because there is nothing. ” hold out for. “
In North Carolina, Trump is currently benefiting from a large GOP spike in external spending that gives him a greater advantage in the state. According to NBC News, Biden spent $ 3.8 million last week, compared to $ 2.6 million on Trump. This corresponds to a weekly increase for both campaigns.
Both Republicans and Democrats have not approved any new aid for months, despite rising infection rates and signs of a slowing economic recovery. The U.S. reported 73,240 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the 7-day average of new cases to about 71,832. This is a new record and an increase of more than 20% compared to a week ago. This is based on a CNBC analysis of the data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 has increased by at least 5% over the past week. This comes from data from the Covid Tracking Project, which collects tests, hospital stays and other data on the outbreak. According to Johns Hopkins data, cases in 45 states have increased by at least that amount.
Amid it all, a record number of voters have already cast their votes, largely due to health concerns related to pandemics, which resulted in an unprecedented demand for mail-in and in-person early voting.
In fact, the 2020 early voting surpassed the 58 million mail or in-person early votes cast in 2016, based on the Associated Press totals, to top over 50% of the total of 136 million or more in the 2016 presidential election. In addition, more than 30 million requested postal ballot papers have not been returned, including more than 11 million from registered Democrats, the US election project reports.
As a result, there have been concerns about the credibility of elections for months. While a few thousand votes are unlikely to wield a presidential race, it is certainly not uncommon: Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 with just over 10,000 votes, while Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire with just 2,736 votes. Florida’s fate was decided by just 537 votes in 2000.
Swing States in the 2020 elections
This time around, North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida could be the swing states that will determine the winner of the presidential election. How small business voters cast their votes could be a determining factor.
“If you talk to the Trump campaign, there’s no way to get 270 without all three of those states,” NBC News’ Chuck Todd told CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen at the CNBC Financial Advisor Summit last week. “You have ways without Arizona. You have ways without Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – believe it or not. Where you have no way is without one of those three states [Florida, North Carolina and Ohio] I mentioned.”
For Mark Schafer, an Ohio small business owner and lifelong Republican, the lack of additional help won’t change how he plans to vote in person on Tuesday. Schafer owns the second generation of the Clipper Barber Shop in Sylvania, Ohio, which has been in business since 1972.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Schafer said he applied for anything he could qualify for and eventually received an SBA loan as part of the expanded unemployment benefit. He said the aid subsidized a portion of his household income for nine weeks since Ohio Governor Mike DeWine put the home restrictions in place on March 22nd.
“I haven’t voted yet, but it does [stimulus] I’m not going to change how I vote on a national or local stage, “Schäfer said. In fact, I can’t think of a person who changed their mind, yes or no, because of Covid and other stimuli,” he added.
“I have not received a response from PPP,” said Schäfer. But “regardless of what has already happened and whatever will happen … [stimulus] did the way they like [small business owners] will choose “in Ohio.
“Voters understand that the vibrancy and economic health of their communities depend on their local businesses,” Kerrigan said. “This heightened awareness from Covid-19 has brought the need for an incentive and aid package to the fore. There is general frustration with the stalemate that is unacceptable.”
But, according to Schafer, “everything that comes at this point is really just the icing on the cake,” he said. And on the Florida battlefield, that view is shared by a small business owner in Belleair, who asked to remain anonymous but said she tended to support Trump at the start of the election cycle and is now undecided, citing Trump’s in going on Tuesday “sense of non-urgency” regarding pandemic and stimulus needs.
“I have no feeling of anger or inequality,” she said of attitudes towards the ongoing business negotiations. “Would you [small business owners] want it and would it help you? Every little bit counts. I think that’s the attitude, at least among people I know, “she added, and repeated Schäfer.
As a local realtor who has lived in the state for more than 20 years, she said she originally did not need or apply for PPP help due to an “influx” of people moving to the area at the time. “My guess based on the feeling and temperature of the small business owners here where I live is Biden,” who will benefit from those who have not yet voted in the state.
In Florida, Biden increased spending while Trump cut spending week by week, according to NBC News. Biden spent three times as much as Republicans, while total Republican spending was virtually flat. Total Democratic Spending increased 23% from week to week.
“This is not the center of the battlefield,” said NBC’s Todd. “These are probably right-wing states, when all things are equal. If Biden wins these states, he’ll tell you where the numbers are likely to be in a Pennsylvania, a Wisconsin, or an Arizona.”
Of course, in these states a person does not reflect the states as a whole, nor will he determine the outcome of the elections.
And ultimately, about half of business owners expect to need additional financial help in the next 12 months.
“Unfortunately, the post-election period can be fraught with additional uncertainty as there is no guarantee that the democratic leadership will negotiate and work with President Trump no matter who wins the White House. That is, if we ever find the winner after election day know.” Said Kerrigan. “It’s about small business survival, and entrepreneurs want security, relief and a lifeline of capital to help them get through the difficult months.”