Poll Finds Election Biggest Threat to U.S. Economy

NEW YORK — More than 6-in-10 Americans see the upcoming presidential election as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy over the next 6 months, according to a new study by Bankrate.com. Terrorism was a very distant 2nd at 12%, followed by struggling overseas economies at 9%, a decline in the stock market at 8% and an increase in interest rates at 5%.

“When Americans were asked about the biggest risk to the U.S. economy, the landslide winner was the outcome of the presidential election, garnering 61% of the vote and five times more votes than the second choice – terrorism,” said Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride, CFA.

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.

Republicans were only slightly more likely (at 68%) than Democrats (60%) or Independents (61%) to cite the election outcome as the biggest economic risk. Older millennials (age 26-35) and younger Baby Boomers (age 52-61) were most likely to name this as the biggest threat economically.

The looming election also appears to be wearing on Americans’ feelings of financial security. The Financial Security Index plunged to the lowest level in more than 2 years. Americans’ comfort level with both savings and debt took big steps backward. Those less comfortable with their savings compared to last year outnumbered those more comfortable by more than 2-to-1. Those saying they are less comfortable with their debt compared to last year outweighed those feeling more comfortable for the first time since January.

The findings were made by Princeton Survey Research Associates International which obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (503) and cell phone (501, including 294 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from September 1-4, 2016. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.