In the first poll of business leaders since last week's general election, nearly 700 told the Institute of Directors (IoD) that they are deeply concerned with the current political uncertainty and its impact on the UK economy.
The Institute described the result as a dramatic drop in business confidence and the business mood is unlikely to have been improved by news of a delay to the Queen's Speech.
Of those who took the poll immediately after the election results were confirmed, 65% said that uncertainty over the make-up of the Government was a significant concern for the UK economy.
This represents a negative swing of 34 points in confidence in the UK economy from the IoD's previous survey in May.
Director General Stephen Martin said: "The needs of business and discussion of the economy were largely absent from the campaign, but this crash in confidence shows how urgently that must change in the new Government."
The poll of IoD members showed strong belief that the overall priority for David Davis and his colleagues must be reaching a new trade deal with the EU. On the domestic front, work to deliver a higher skilled workforce and better quality infrastructure is considered vitally important.
Mr Martin confirmed that, despite fears about the instability of a minority Government, there is little appetite among his members for an early rerun of the election.
He stressed that they are looking for any political certainty that can be found and are keen to see quick agreement with the EU on transitional arrangements surrounding the UK’s withdrawal, and clarity on the status of EU workers in this country.