Small business owners are paying attention to the presidential campaign — and a majority of them say the issues most important to them are not being addressed, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll conducted in early April. Small business owner optimism is in a holding pattern, according to a news release sent by Wells Fargo.

When asked if the presidential candidates are addressing issues most important to them, 69 percent of the small business owners surveyed said no, while 28 percent answered in the affirmative and the remainder replied, “don’t know.”

Small business owners listed the following issues as those most important:

  • Changes in the tax code, tax regulations and rates for small business;
  • Health care and the current health care law;
  • Economic policies that affect them;
  • Consumer confidence; and
  • Terrorism and national security.

“The uncertainty surrounding the presidential election will likely keep small business confidence close to its recent range and may also further restrain capital spending and hiring,” the Wells Fargo report said.

Overall optimism grew during the last quarter last year, but took a three-point dip in the April survey. The level of small business confidence follows the recent trend in overall growth, with the real gross domestic product growing at 0.5 percent. Real GDP has averaged an upward pace of 2.2 percent over the last three years, compared with an annual growth of 2.6 percent on average from 2004-2007.

“While most business owners acknowledge that business is better today than it was a few years ago and their financial positions have improved, the pace of improvement has consistently fallen short of expectations,” the release said.

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Business owners reporting sales increases improved slightly in the April survey, but it has not exceeded 50 percent since 2007. This survey showed 40 percent of businesses saw an increase in revenue during the past year, 14 percent reported the revenue had increased a lot and 26 percent said their sales had increased a little.