June 19, 2012

Personal Financial Situation Most Important Factor in Election

Americans evenly split on Romney, Obama

President Obama speaking about the debt ceiling. (Photo: AP) President Obama speaking about the debt ceiling. (Photo: AP)

Americans will vote for the pocketbooks come November, a survey by Bankrate.com found. Nearly 60% of respondents said their personal financial situation is one of the biggest factors in their decision on who to vote for.

As for who that candidate will be, respondents were evenly divided between Romney and Obama, with 21% saying they would support each candidate. Fully half said it doesn’t matter who wins the election.

"How Americans feel about the U.S. economy and their own finances will be central to the election on Nov. 6," Claes Bell of Bankrate said in a statement.

Bankrate noted that Franklin Roosevelt was the last president to be re-elected with unemployment above 7.2%. As of June 1, unemployment is at 8.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"While unemployment will probably be above that 7.2% historical benchmark when the election takes place, the key question will be whether Americans are comfortable with the progress that has been made since the economy took a turn for the worse,” Bell added. “Close to 3 million jobs have been recovered since October 2009, and Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index hit an 18-month high last month, but some recent indicators have been less positive. At this point, the election seems too close to call."

Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for Bankrate, noted that the correlation between Americans’ personal financial situation and how they feel about their president is nothing new.

"Presidential approval ratings zig and zag in close concert with Americans' feelings of financial security," he said in a statement. "Since late 2010 through May of 2012, the correlation is 0.84. A reading of 1.0 would be a perfect correlation."

 

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