MMBI special report

Election Pulse Survey

Optimism in the middle market amid expectation of change

Jan 21, 2021

With the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States, senior executives at middle market businesses are optimistic about the American economy, even as they expect substantial shifts under the new administration, according to a recent RSM survey. 

The survey for the RSM US Middle Market Business Index—fielded from Nov. 19 to Dec. 2, 2020, with 401 executives responding—captures the dynamic changes taking place across the middle market and the broader economy. 

The executives’ responses presented a generally positive view that they expected the economy to grow under a Biden administration. A plurality of 46% said that they were much more optimistic or somewhat more optimistic when asked how their expectations for the economy had changed due to the results of the election.

Among the survey’s findings:

Executives told RSM that they anticipated substantial changes in the government’s approach to a range of issues. Ranking highest among those issues was an expected shift in COVID-19 mitigation efforts.  Other expected changes would be reversals of policies adopted by the Trump administration, including:

  • Taxes: 82% expect changes in the nation’s tax code
  • Regulations: Reinstituting regulations that were eliminated or reduced in areas like the environment, labor, health care, consumer financial protections and immigration
  • Rejoining the global community: A reversal of tariffs and trade policies, and an expectation of rejoining the Paris climate accord 

But some executives had a more tempered outlook. Of those surveyed, 36% said they were somewhat more pessimistic or much more pessimistic about the economy. Executives with these views expressed concern about the economic impact that changes from the Biden administration would bring.

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