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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama's Approval Among Business Owners Drops Before His 'You Didn't Build That' Remarks

By Susan Duclos

The timing of the Gallup release is fortuitous for Republicans and Conservatives but even more damaging to Barack Obama considering the Gallup survey was conducted and tallied before his controversial "You didn't build that" remarks, which have offended business owners across the country.

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking April 1-June 30, 2012, with a random sample of 25,464 employed adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Obama approval among business owners dropped 6 percentage points from the first quarter findings and is now the second lowest approval for Obama among occupational groups.

Via Gallup "Implications":

Although business owners represent just a small subset of the U.S. population, they are of course a critical component of the economy and overall economic optimism in the country. If business owners become more positive about Obama and his plans for the economy, that could potentially boost his approval ratings and broader U.S. economic confidence closer to the levels necessary for him to be well positioned for re-election. Conversely, further deterioration in his approval rating among business owners could certainly add to the perception that Obama is not doing enough to bolster small businesses in the country.

Since that survey was conducted, Barack Obama has made some controversial remarks that has offended business owners. Full quote below, in context, from the White House transcript:

Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.

 Since that ill-chosen comment, Mitt Romney, the RNC, Conservatives and business owners have all responded aggressively.

One example of that comes from a Raleigh, North Carolina business owner, Juan Ponce, who said "It's almost like someone just slapped me in the face, it was me that built this company."

Another Raleigh business owner, Steve Webb, took it a step further and put a sign in front of his business that read "MR. OBAMA I DID CREATE THIS BUSINESS, STEVE WEBB."

Mr. Webb is not the only business owner that took offense.

With the Gallup findings tallied before Obama's remarks, it is not likely that business owners, "a critical component of the economy and overall economic optimism in the country," as Gallup describes them, are going become any more positive about Obama and will, most likely, become more critical.

[Update] Via Mitt, who compiled the list with relevant links.

More Business Owners Have A Message For President Obama: We Built Our Businesses, Not Government:

McKees Rocks’ David Cranston: “It Was The First Time I Was Really Angry At The President.” “David Cranston of McKees Rocks agreed. He said his company, Cranston Material Handling Equipment Corporation, has struggled with business regulations and taxes. … Asked if the comments had changed his opinion of Obama, Cranston acknowledged that the two had always held opposing views, but that, ‘It was the first time I was really angry at the President.’” (Keegan Gibson, “PA Republicans Did Build That Meme,”, 7/25/12)

Delia Meier, Whose Family Founded The Iowa-80 Truck Stop, Said She Felt “Dismissed” By President Obama’s Remarks. “The businesspeople — Mark Ross, a partner at the consulting firm IGO Partners, and Delia Meier, whose family founded the Iowa-80 Truck Stop — both took issue with the president Wednesday. … Meier said Wednesday she felt ‘dismissed’ by the president’s remarks.” (Ed Tibbetts, “Iowa GOP Leaders Continue Focus On Obama ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Remark,” Quad-City Times, 7/25/12)  

Business Owner Kevin Ressler – A Registered Democrat From Florida – Said He “Took Offense” At President Obama’s Remarks And Would Not Vote For Him In November. “In West Palm Beach, registered Democrat Kevin Ressler, who owns a marble restoration and maintenance business in Boca Raton, said he ‘took offense’ to the president’s remarks and won’t be voting for him this year after doing so in 2008.” (George Bennett, “‘You Didn’t Build That’ Fight Heats Up In Florida With Romney Attacks, New Obama Ad,” Palm Beach Post, 7/25/12)

Small-Business Owner Chris Head: “It’s Really An Exposure, An Opportunity To See That Our President Doesn’t Know What It Means To Build A Business.” “In Roanoke, Pete Snyder, the director of the GOP’s coordinated Virginia campaign,  and state Del. Chris Head, R-Botetourt County, stood before a campaign banner for Republican Mitt Romney bearing the phrase ‘We Did Build It!’ and condemned the president’s remarks about businesses. … But Head, who owns Home Instead Senior Care, said he’s disturbed by the underlying thrust of the speech. ‘It’s really an exposure, an opportunity to see that our president doesn’t know what it means to build a business,’ Head said.” (Mason Adams And Michael Sluss, “Republicans Step Up Attack On Obama’s Roanoke Speech,” The Roanoke Times, 7/25/12)

Tom McAneny Of McAneny Brothers In Pennsylvania: “I Don’t Remember Any Government Employees Standing There Saying We’re Behind You And We’ve Got Your Back.” TOM MCANENY, MCANENY BROTHERS: “I don’t remember any government employees standing there saying we’re behind you and we’ve got your back. I remember signing those papers and knowing full well what I was signing and I was risking everything that we owned.” (WTAJ-TV, 7/25/12)

Ball Office Products’ Melissa Ball: “Americans Do Build Their Own Business, And We Need A President Who Believes That As Well.” “McDonnell was joined by a pair of small business owners, including Melissa Ball of Ball Office Products who said she was insulted by the president’s comments. ‘President Obama is wrong,’ Ball said. ‘Americans do build their own business, and we need a president who believes that as well.’” (Anita Kumar, “McDonnell Blasts Obama On ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Comment,” The Washington Post, 7/25/12)

Midwest Tape President John Eldred: “The Man Has No Idea About What It Is To Run A Business, What It Is To Put Everything That You Have On The Line, To Risk Your Home For What You Believe In.” (WTOL-TV, 7/25/12)

Alexis Calleja, A Founder Of A Boutique Law Firm In Florida:  “I Was Insulted When I Heard President Obama's Comment…” “‘I take pride in my work to build my business, and that of my employees to grow it,’ said Alexis Calleja, founding partner of Hudson & Calleja LLC, a boutique law firm in Florida. ‘I was insulted when I heard President Obama's comment that, ‘If you've got a business, you didn't build that.’” (Press Release,, 7/25/12)