Presidential election 'biggest threat' to U.S. economy for most Americans
The vast majority of Americans see the upcoming presidential election as the single greatest threat to the country's economic well-being, according to a new report published Tuesday by Bankrate.
About 6 in 10 Democrats and 7 in 10 Republicans said "the outcome of the presidential election" would be the "biggest threat to the U.S. economy over the next six months" out of more than 1,000 respondents surveyed in Bankrate's latest poll.
About 12 percent of all respondents said "terrorism" was their largest concern, while 9 percent cited "struggling overseas economies" and 8 percent worried over a "decline in the stock market."
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"Surprisingly, the outcome of the presidential election was the runaway choice as the biggest threat to the economy over the next 6 months among every age group, income group, ethnic group, political affiliation, and regardless of gender," Bankrate said in a press release Tuesday. "Older millennials, those ages 26-35, and younger baby boomers, ages 52-61, were most likely to name this as the biggest threat economically."
Bankrate also tracked Americans' sense of financial security, the results of which help explain why so many respondents feel so antsy about the election. The company's Financial Security Index, which surveys Americans' feelings about personal debt, savings, net worth and job security, dropped in September to its lowest level in more than two years. With so many across the country on edge over their own finances, it's not surprising to see anxiety over such a significant and contentious upcoming election.
"[P]olitical uncertainty is at an especially high level, and the negative rhetoric of the U.S. presidential election continues to escalate," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at research and analysis company IHS Markit, said in a statement Monday, indicating "political uncertainty" at home and abroad will likely "threaten [the] global economic outlook" in the months ahead.
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The Bankrate study is hardly the first release to suggest Americans are concerned over the economic repercussions of November's presidential vote. A Moody's Analytics report published earlier this year speculated that a "lengthy recession" would be sparked if GOP nominee Donald Trump emerged victorious on Election Day. A separate study from the National Center for Policy Analysis found that "every government job created by [Democratic nominee] Hillary [Clinton] would eventually cost nearly 5 private sector jobs."
But it's interesting to see more Republicans concerned about the economy under a hypothetical President Clinton than the other way around, considering Trump's proposals have received more condemnation from practicing economists than Clinton's. About 55 percent of National Association of Business Economics members surveyed last month indicated Clinton would most effectively manage the economy. About 15 percent said Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson would be America's best bet, while only 14 percent said they backed Trump.
A separate survey of Fortune 500 CEOs published earlier this year showed 58 percent backing Clinton, compared to Trump's 42 percent.
Consumers, meanwhile, have largely been split on whether Trump or Clinton would be better for economic well-being. About 30 percent of respondents to an August poll conducted by the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers outfit said a Clinton victory would increase their personal financial prospects. Thirty-one percent said the same of Trump, while 39 percent said the election results "wouldn't make any difference."
The same survey found that 34 percent of respondents thought Clinton would be best for the economy, compared to Trump's 30 percent. The most popular answer, though, was that the election results would make "no difference" to the economy.
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