The small business population has been a key focus in this year’s presidential election — and with good reason. About half of private sector employees in the U.S. work for a small business, according to the Census Bureau. And with a scant few weeks left until the election, voters are still parsing the candidates' proposals; for small business owners, relevant issues cover everything from tax rates and health care to international trade, regulations and immigration law. We spoke to a sampling of small business owners across the country to get their views on a variety of issues, including how the recession has affected their business, how they feel about the health care act and which candidate they might be leaning toward. And while their opinions on the candidates might differ, they appear united in their view that, despite the hardships involved amid an uncertain economy, owning a business can ultimately be very rewarding.