Via today’s Gallup, President Obama’s approval rating among business owners dropped significantly during the second quarter:
Business owners were the sole group that became significantly less approving, with their second-quarter approval of 35% reflecting a decline from 41% in the first quarter.
While there are too few respondents in some occupational groups to report their approval ratings by month, the internal data suggest the decline in business owners’ approval of Obama came for the most part between March and April, with approval holding at a lower rate since then. The data precede Obama’s much-discussed July 13 comments that small-business owners have had help from others to achieve success. Thus it is not yet clear whether those comments have led to further deterioration in Obama’s standing among small-business owners.
It’s interesting that the decline began in March and April, as the Obama campaign didn’t really start the full-on attacks on private equity until May. But if you recall, March and April were the Democratic Party’s “war on women” months, which certainly could have turned off business owners who aren’t thrilled with the federal government infringing on the religious beliefs of private employers.
Note that this poll was taken before Obama’s “you didn’t build that” flap. At HotAir, Ed Morrissey wonders whether this means Obama doesn’t have much to lose:
Business owners obviously weren’t terribly enamored of Obama even before the “you didn’t build that” comment. That prompts a question as to whether the anger it stokes among entrepreneurs will really do that much damage to Obama. He might lose a big chunk of the 35% of business owners that approved of him in the second quarter, but the class-warfare tactic could help to improve his standing in other categories.
I think Obama was already prepared to take a hit with business owners, after his support for raising taxes on high-income earners, and of course the regulatory burdens of ObamaCare. That was the whole point of his “you didn’t build that” populism — to pit the public against the “business owners” who supposedly aren’t paying their fair share. The problem was, he slipped up and his comments came off as aggressive class warfare instead of a call for “fairness.” Most Americans don’t own businesses, and yet most Americans have an appreciation for business owners and entrepreneurs. Many would probably like to own their own business someday.
So while Obama can probably get away with saying business owners should pay more in taxes, he can’t get away with crediting government for their achievements. It’s not business owners who Obama lost with that speech, it’s the wide swath of the public that admires them and hopes to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams one day.