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Rudd on shaky ground with business community: SmartCompany poll

Melinda Oliver /

Coalition leader Tony Abbott is leading the charge in the business community as preferred prime minister over Kevin Rudd, a SmartCompany election poll shows.

Results showed that 78% of respondents would prefer Abbott to take the top job, while 22.5% want Rudd to remain in the position.

The figures show sentiment remains largely unchanged from the SmartCompany survey in late June, before Rudd was reinstated as prime minister, which showed 74% preferred Abbott as leader, and 26% preferred Rudd.

The anonymous survey, conducted by SmartCompany this week, looked at various issues relating to the federal election to be held on September 7.

Small or medium business respondents made up 78.4% of the 334 respondents, while 7.5% were from large businesses. Of the rest, 14.1% were self-employed; 69.2% were business owners; 13.5% were managers; 10.5% executives; and 6.9% employees.

The survey showed 77.1% of respondents said they will vote for the Coalition, 13% for Labor and 4.8% for the Greens.

When asked which party has presented the best small business policies, 82.8% chose the Coalition, and 17.2% opted for Labor.

The election issues that matter to respondents varied, but the economy, red tape for small business, unemployment, infrastructure, FBT rules, the broadband network and unfair dismissal legislation were key.

“Unemployment and reining in government spending on public servants and wasteful spending that does not lead to productivity. Boosting employment in small business,” a respondent commented.

“Business confidence, which will only happen with financial management of the economy”, another respondent said.

Another commented: “Paper work – red tape. Needs to be reduced. Small business is not a bottomless pit that can be continued to have its limited resources – namely time – taken up filling in forms.”

A further respondent simply wrote: “Stop taxing us.”

The date of the election, September 7, was likely to have “some impact” on the business of 43.7% of respondents: 27.7% said the date would have a “big impact”; 15.1% said it would have a “small impact”; and 14.8% said it would have “no impact”.

More than half of respondents, 53.9%, reported they had delayed investment decisions or purchases until after the election – 46.1% had not.

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