5 Factors That Will Influence the 2014 Midterm Elections

Date: October 22, 2014 Last Edit: September 07, 2016

These issues are top of mind for small business owners nationwide, and NFIB believes they are likely to impact election results this November.

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As Election Day approaches, here are the top five issues small business owners are concerned about, according to Brad Close, NFIB’s senior vice president of public policy and advocacy.

No. 1: The Wrong Track 

Pres. Barack Obama’s unpopularity and the widely held belief that the country is headed in the wrong direction loom over the campaigns of Democrats and Republicans alike in congressional races across the country. Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the president, while GOP candidates are considering how aggressively to criticize a beleaguered Obama.
“It’s been bad for the president for a while now, and it seems to be getting worse, especially in U.S. Senate races,” Close says. “It’ll be the second midterm election under the Obama administration, and in the first one [in 2010], he really hurt his party at the ballot box. And if you look at the races this time around, Democrats are for the most part down in the polls. That’s telling.”

No. 2: Federal Overreach 

Small business owners are very concerned about the current administration’s consistent attempts to go beyond what the law allows.
Case in point: the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The NFIB Small Business Legal Center filed a brief on the topic, arguing that the EPA exceeded its authority, and the Supreme Court agreed, sparing small businesses the $37,500 a day in noncompliance penalties that the agency had hoped to impose.
“We also saw the Supreme Court rule against this executive overreach when it found that the president’s three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were invalid,” Close says. “These kinds of actions from the administration are very troubling to small businesses and only add to the uncertainty from Washington that is a clear drag on the small business economy.”

No. 3: Obamacare 

Some claim Obamacare has faded as a lightning-rod issue for this campaign. But Close says NFIB members beg to differ, expressing concerns about the new 30-hour full-time threshold for mandatory provision of health insurance to employees and the size of coming premium increases.
Some states are seeing big health insurance premium increases come through this fall, although other states are withholding news of rate hikes for their Obamacare policies until after the elections, Close says. “That’s a sign they’re not going to be good news for employers.”

No. 4: The State of the Economy 

Despite recent indications that the economy is improving, Close says NFIB surveys indicate small businesses still have a lot of uncertainty and concern about the direction and strength of the U.S. economy.

No. 5: Excessive Regulation 

There are more than 3,300 new federal regulations in the pipeline, which would regulate practically every part of a business owner’s activities.
“Small business owners feel the impact of an administration that’s willing to push the envelope on rewriting regulatory policy and rules,” Close says. “It’s troubling to them.”

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