The Washington Post

Obama’s approval rating among business owners drops

Days after presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney used an excerpt from President Obama’s speech to attack the president’s support for American entre­pre­neur­ship, a Gallup poll released last week indicates that business owners are increasingly unhappy with Obama.

Business owners, whose job approval rating of the president dropped from 41 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 35 percent in the second quarter, were the only employment group whose support for the president dipped significantly during the past three months. The poll found that 59 percent of business owners disapprove of Obama — the highest disapproval rating among all occupations, which also include professional workers, manufacturing workers and transportation workers.

The poll was taken before Obama’s July 13 speech, in which he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

In context, the comment alluded to the fact that successful people have benefited from the help of teachers and government infrastructure. But the Romney campaign quickly jumped to frame Obama’s words as anti-business, and issued a television ad featuring a New Hampshire metal plant owner saying the president was demonizing business owners for building their own companies.

The Obama campaign fought back, releasing its own television ad saying Romney’s attack was out of context.

“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context, they’re flat out wrong,” Obama said in the ad. “Of course Americans build their own business. Every day, hardworking people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them as America always has. By investing in education, training, roads and bridges, research and technology.”

Obama also told reporters at the home of retired Costco chief executive Jim Sinegal in New Orleans that, “The one thing I do have no patience for is this argument that somehow what I’m criticizing is success,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “That’s an argument you hear from the other side: Oh, he wants to punish success. I want to promote success.”

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.



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