By Jonathan Davies

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners are likely to have a huge impact on the outcome of the general election as one of the demographics most likely to turn out in force, according to money saving experts,

The study found that 93% of SME owners intend to vote in nine days time. Two thirds (67%) will be encouraging their staff to do the same and 55% will allow staff to vote during business hours.

In 2010, 80% of SME owners voted compared to 65% of the general population.

The North East is set to have the highest turnout amongst SME business owners, with 98% intending to visit the polling stations on May 7th. The region with the lowest intended turnout is the West Midlands with 89.7% - which is still 25% higher than the general turnout of 2010. Business owners in Northern Ireland are the least likely to vote, with just 75% saying they intend to have their say.

Coupled with research by the Bank of Cyrpus UK, the studies suggest that political parties are missing out on a huge opportunity to win votes. Although the vast majority of SME owners are planning to vote, a study by the Bank of Cyprus showed that 40% don't believe that small businesses are high enough on the political agenda.