Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about the effects of the presidential election to the U.S. economy, as six out of ten say it will be a mitigating factor.
The election poses the largest risk during the next six months, garnering a spot as the top concern for 61% of those polled, according to a new study conducted by Bankrate, the North Palm Beach, Fla.-based financial content company. The sentiment was cohesive, as Americans across all ages, genders, income levels, ethnic groups and political affiliation agreed.
The concerns are a reflection of the anxiety expressed by consumers and business owners due to the uncertainty of the outcome of the election and its ramifications to the economy, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.
“No one knows how much it will change, but the uncertainty doesn’t go away right after the election regardless of who wins,” he said.
Americans are also increasingly worried about their financial security as Bankrate’s financial security index plunged to a reading of 99.9, indicating the start of deteriorating financial confidence. September’s index results end a streak of 27 consecutive months where Americans had stated their improved feelings of financial security compared to the previous year.
The skittish behavior means businesses will not start making investments into equipment or adding more employees while consumers could also hold off on their discretionary spending, McBride said.
“Consumers haven’t tightened purse strings, yet, but they have a tendency to do so when they are nervous,” he said. “That’s when the risk of the economy comes into play.”