NFIB’s bogus poll

Two recent polls of businesses seem to show conflicting results:

“69% of small business owners and manufacturers say President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers.”

“39% of small businesses say that President Obama is the most supportive candidate of small business, whereas only 31% say the same of Governor Romney.  And 28% are still not sure which presidential candidate is more suportive of small business.”

Sure the questions weren’t the same but the conclusions should be highly correlated.  If 69% of small businesses think that President Obama has been very bad for them, then we shouldn’t expect 28% to be undecided and only 31% favoring Mitt Romney on the issue of which candidate is more supportive of small business.

So what happened?

The first finding was from a National Federation of Independent Business/National Association of Manufacturers (NFIB/NAM) poll released yesterday.  The second was from a George Washington University/Thumbtack (GWUT) poll released last week.

The NFIB/NAM poll surveyed businesses with 2 to 499 employees while the GWUT poll surveyed businesses with 1 to 499 employees.  What’s the difference?  A lot!

The GWUT poll analysis says that, “According to US Census data, 91.6% of small businesses have between one and five workers.  Another 3.8% have 6-10 workers, and 4.6% have over 11 workers.”  The authors of the GWUT poll insist that their respondents closely matched the Census data.

So how well did the NFIB/NAM poll do with keeping close to the Census data of size of businesses?  Not very well.

First, the NFIB/NAM poll didn’t include sole proprietors.  So their percentage of respondents with 5 or fewer employees (48%) was vastly underrepresented.   But while the truly small business owners were under surveyed, the NFIB/NAM poll over surveyed the larger businesses. 

The Census data, according to the GWUT poll, shows that 1.9% of businesses have 21 to 100 workers and only 0.33% of businesses have between 101 and 500 employees.  What were the percentages of NFIB/NAM respondents following into these categories?  18% had between 21 and 99 workers and 6% had 100 to 499 employees?

Here are the comparisons between the Census data and the sample used by NFIB/NAM.

Workers           Census             NFIB/NAM
1-5                   91.6%              48%
21-100             1.9%                18%
101-499           0.33%              6%

It doesn’t take an experienced researcher to conclude that the sample used in the NFIB/NAM poll was skewed in favor of larger businesses.  This alone should disqualify the poll as representing the opinions of small business owners.

But wait, there’s more.

All the respondents in the NFIB/NAM poll weren’t even business owners or presidents of the companies.  This poll included 22% of the responses that came from managers.  We have no idea who these managers were or what they managed.  It could have been the maintenance department as far as we know.  Yet the NFIB/NAM poll counts their opinions just as much as the opinion of real small business owners.

But don’t blame the polling company that conducted the survey for this pretty worthless “small business” NFIB/NAM poll…blame the organizations who called the shots on the sample, the questions and the interpretation of the results.  

The polling company’s representative was very careful in his released comments on the poll.   Bill McInturff states, “It’s clear that small business owners and manufacturers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the federal government’s inability to solve America’s economic problems.  Manufacturers place most of the blame squarely on policies coming out of Washington.” 

There you have it from the man who knows the intricate details of who was surveyed and exactly who said what in the NFIB/NAM poll.  He carefully did not say small businesses blame Washington (and by inference the President) for the economy.   He said “manufacturers”.

Obviously this poll was intended to mislead the public and politicians during the last weeks of the Presidential campaign.  The NFIB has once again shown that it really doesn’t represent the true small businesses of this country and it doesn’t mind letting the good name of small business to be misused by big business interests.  In fact, it is paid millions to do just that.  As I have said numerous times before, the NFIB is a small business pretender.

Fortunately, today a new website was launched ( will help the public, politicians and press lift up the curtain and see exactly who the NFIB really is and who’s bidding it is doing. 

Scroll to Top