NEW: Amanda Gome

The most recent survey of business owner voting intentions looks bad for John Howard — on the surface.

Why John Howard could still win the business owner’s vote

Amanda Gome

It looked bad. A SmartCompany/Roy Morgan survey of 769 business owners revealed that John Howard’s key constituency might be deserting him. 

Only half of the business owners say they would vote Liberal and they had a long list of key concerns that look pretty damaging for Howard.

Business owners give Howard a wallop over integrity, with 43% saying it is a concern. They are equally as concerned about Howard’s foreign policy (Iraq).

But most people question politicians’ integrity, and Iraq could begin to fade as an issue as troops begin to be pulled out.

Yes, they are concerned about Howard’s approach to environmental and social issues, but on issues that really concern their businesses — approach to IR, economic management and rising interest rates — there are few concerns.

Take Labor. About 35% plan to vote for Kevin Rudd. But their major concerns strike at the heart of their businesses. About half of the business owners say their biggest concerns with Labor are economic management, union power and the approach to IR.

They are also very concerned about Labor’s inexperience and the ALP being in control of all governments.

At the end of the day, some of the business owners who plan to vote for Labor may well change their minds as their concerns for their business, employees and livelihoods overtake their concerns about Howard’s integrity and foreign policy.

And it is likely that Howard’s declaration yesterday that, if he regains office he would retire midway through the term, might win him a few more points with business owners. We are a pragmatic lot but like to know what is happening. It may well help perceptions about his integrity now that he has come clean on his intentions.

What do you think?

Will Howard’s declaration of his long-term plans change your vote? Would you prefer Peter Costello?

To read more It’s My Shout blogs, click here.



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