United States President Joe Biden makes remarks on economic growth, employment and deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, United States, on May 4, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein Reuters
Fewer small business owners now than a year ago approve of the work Joe Biden is doing as president. In fact, according to the latest, small business owners are twice as likely to disapprove than to approve of Biden CNBC | SurveyMonkey Small Business Surveyconducted April 18-25 among 2,027 small business owners in the United States
Biden’s approval in this group hasn’t been budgeted for in the past three quarters, but few small business owners have focused particularly on politics during that time. Instead, for the third consecutive quarter, inflation dominates concerns on Main Street. In this latest survey, about four in 10 small business owners (38%) report that inflation is the greatest risk to their business right now, at least twice the number indicating supply chain disruptions (19%). ), labor shortages (13%), or Covid-19 (13%).
About three in four small business owners say they are currently seeing an increase in supply costs, a number that has remained stable since the fourth quarter of 2021.
Of those experiencing cost increases, 40% say they need to raise prices to keep up, and another 35% are planning to raise prices if costs continue to rise.
However, that leaves the 24% absorbing the rising costs without raising prices on their own. With inflation on the rise in every industry, small businesses may be the most reluctant to raise their prices because they lack some of the pricing power that helps large corporations maintain their dominance.
One of the concerns about inflation is how quickly it can get out of control: As prices rise at each stage of production, they push prices further at each subsequent stage. Also, as prices rise, companies are forced to raise wages, but these higher wages lead consumers to spend more money and the cycle continues.
But you won’t see much acceptance of price scams on Main Street. Small business owners seem particularly reluctant to take advantage of the current inflationary environment by passing higher costs onto their customers. Overall, twice as many small business owners say now is a bad time to raise prices than when they say now is a good time to raise prices.
Of course, small business owners cannot fight inflation alone; it is absolutely in the realm of the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration to determine the policy changes that can reduce widespread price hikes. So far, few on Main Street have been impressed by the response.
In this quarter, only 27% of small business owners say they are confident in the Federal Reserve’s ability to control inflation, matching almost exactly 28% last quarter. On Wednesday, President Jerome Powell announced this the Fed would raise interest rates by half a percentage point – the first such step since the start of the recent inflation rush last year.
Not surprisingly, just as inflation started to rise last fall, small business owner approval of the way Joe Biden is doing his job as president has declined, and has remained there ever since. For the first three-quarters of his presidency, Biden averaged 42% acceptance among small businesses – not great, but not terrible when you consider that the majority of small business owners are more Republican-aligned than Democrats. .
Over the past three quarters, Biden’s approval rate has dropped to 30 years and fewer small business owners approve of Biden now than ever. Other polls suggest Biden needs to keep inflation in check to help bolster his delay in approving the job.
Just like in our quarterly survey, Biden’s approval in general public opinion polls began to decline last fall, just as inflation was starting to rise. Presidential approval tracker FiveThirtyEight pinpoints August 29, 2021 as the tipping point where Biden’s disapproval overtook his approval in polling averages. Even at that time, the rate of price increase was break records.
In a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, Biden’s work approval increased slightly from February to April and now stands at 42% in total. That number is still well below Biden’s 52% in the first Washington Post / ABC News poll of his presidency in April last year.
This latest poll is particularly prescriptive for Biden because it called for different aspects of presidential approval. Even though his overall approval rating is underwater, the majority of adults in the United States (51%) approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Less approve of his handling of the Russia / Ukraine situation, his ability to create jobs or his management of the economy in general. And, at the bottom of the list, only 28% approve of his inflation management.
Presidents get credit for a strong economy during good times and blame for a struggling economy during tough times, as Biden is experiencing now. With inflation at the center of mind across the country, including Main Street, the approval of Biden’s work will not recover unless he makes it.