Small businesses have overwhelmingly pledged their support for the Coalition ahead of the September federal election, with a SmartCompany poll revealing a massive 82% of readers plan to vote for the Liberals and Tony Abbott.
The anonymous, online poll was open to all SmartCompany readers yesterday, with 624 respondents.
The poll found 82.2%, or 513 readers, said they would vote for the Coalition, compared to just 13.3% or 83 readers who pledged their support for Labor. Only 28, or 4.5%, said they would vote for the Greens.
The poll represents the continuation of a decline in support for Labor among SMEs. Three years ago a similar SmartCompany poll found 28% would vote for Labor, while in 2007 that figure was as high as 35%.
The result was similar when readers were asked about their preferred prime minister – 497 said they support Tony Abbott, with only 115 supporting Julia Gillard. The poll also found 528 readers said the Coalition has the best small business policies, with just 96 opting for Labor.
Industrial relations is a key sore point. Over 90% of readers said both parties should be prepared to make changes to the current IR system, and only 9.1% said the current laws should stay as they are.
The poll also found 85% of businesses believe the election will have at least some impact on their business. Only 15.2% said it would not have any impact, but 18.4% said it would have at least a small impact.
Most – 41% – said the election would have “some” impact, while 25% said it would have “a big impact” on their businesses.
Other key issues cited by respondents were the carbon tax, red tape, GST, tax issues, and the National Broadband Network. The issue cited most often was tax, followed by red tape and industrial relations.
Other readers listed a number of different problems, including the ongoing debate over the low-value GST threshold. Many readers complained of high penalty rates in retail, along with complaints over superannuation.
“Superannuation capping should be higher than $25k per year to encourage people over 50 to increase their plans,” one reader lamented. Another said the government should offer “more support for small business to respond to emerging trends”.
“Strip shopping retailers to become more competitive against online retailers, etc,” the reader said.