[IMGCAP(1)]If elections are all about economics, then the winner of next week’s presidential election will be Hillary Clinton.

At least, that’s what Moody’s Analytics predicts, based on its analysis of economic and political variables that reflect a “friendly environment” for the incumbent party. In their model, the economy is humming along nicely, and that, combined with President Obama’s rising approval ratings, should spell victory for the candidate representing the incumbent party. The model accurately predicts every election since 1980.

If this dismays you, don’t fret, since there are other economic models that suggest the opposite.
For small business owners, the economic outlook is improving, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect their presidential preference. The number of small business sales transactions reported to BizBySell reached a record level, not seen since right before the recession hit in 2008. Businesses sold in the third quarter of 2016 took an average of 171 days to sell, a 4.5 percent decrease from the 179 days reported in Q3 of 2015, and a drop from 188 days in the first quarter of this year. That’s a sign of an improving economy, according to Bob House, president of BizBuySell. And the median sale price in Q3 of 2016 increased 7.6 percent from $185,000 to $199,000.

“In a separate confidence index survey, sellers were more likely to feel that Trump would improve the small business environment,” House said. “Both buyers and sellers, when asked about the most important issues in the election, listed tax reform, health care, economic policies and jobs, in that order.”

Meanwhile, Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management just released a poll suggesting that while small business owners are concerned about the impact of the election on their business, neither candidate is viewed as having policies that are unilaterally preferable. The survey was taken of 1,353 small business owners from across the United States, polled in October 2016.

Small business owners appear to agree with Trump's policies on fiscal issues and with Clinton on social issues, according to the poll. On taxes, Trump is favored over Clinton by 66 percent to 34 percent; on regulations, Trump leads by 64 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent; and on access to capital, by 65 percent to 35 percent.

However, Clinton scores higher than Trump on social issues: gender equity pay (Clinton 59 percent versus 41 percent for Trump; family leave (58 percent to 42 percent); and women-owned small businesses (59 percent to 41 percent).

On the issues of healthcare policy, favorable impact on the gross domestic product, and favorable impact on free trade, Trump scores higher, but by narrower margins.

The views they hold regarding the candidates are important to them. By an almost two-to-one margin, respondents said they are “very concerned” (38 percent), compared to “somewhat concerned” (20 percent), “not at all concerned” (20 percent) or simply “concerned (19 percent).

Of course, it’s still anybody’s guess as to what will happen next Tuesday, with the possibility of more WikiLeaks, Weiner leaks, former girlfriends and/or pageant contestants resurfacing, and more October surprises from either campaign. But the next time I write about a politician’s position on taxes, there will be just one left to consider.

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