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Portfolio > Economy & Markets

Brexit economic fallout worries Americans in Bloomberg poll

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(Bloomberg) — More than a third of U.S. voters see the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union as damaging to the American economy and four in 10 of those who have stock market investments say it will hurt their portfolios.

A Bloomberg/Morning Consult national poll on fallout from the Brexit vote on the western side of the Atlantic also shows deep concern about damage to the global economy and a general souring on stocks of companies outside the U.S.

Despite evidence of underlying anxiety about it, the British action doesn’t seem to be weighing too heavily on American consumers so far, with 50 percent of voters saying it will have no impact on their purchasing decisions. About a fifth say it will have a minor influence, while a tenth say it’s likely to affect their spending in a major way.

The online survey found most Americans are following Brexit news, with 28 percent of voters saying they’ve read, seen or heard “a lot” about the decision and another 36 percent answering “some” to that question.

“With financial markets taking a dive worldwide, U.S. voters by wide margins say the United Kingdom’s decision will hurt the U.S. economy, the U.K. economy and even the global economy,” said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult, a Washington-based media and technology company.

Read the questions and methodology here.

A majority of U.S. voters — 57 percent — say they don’t expect the U.K. verdict will influence their vote in the presidential election. For the roughly quarter who say it will, almost half say it will make them more likely to support Democrat Hillary Clinton, while 35 percent say Republican Donald Trump.

Among U.S. voters with investments in the stock market, 41 percent say they think the Brexit decision will hurt their portfolios, while 17 percent see it as a positive.

Many in that pool of people — voters with investments who see the outcome having either good or bad consequences — are considering increasing their cash or gold positions. Both are traditional safe havens amid uncertainty.

Four in 10 of those investors say they’re inclined to buy more in gold, while a third say they’re likely to hold larger cash positions. After closing Monday at its highest level since July 2014, gold slipped lower on Tuesday as global markets recovered some of the ground they had lost in the previous two trading sessions.

Roughly half of investors who think Brexit will have an impact on their portfolios — 51 percent — say they’re less likely to invest in international stock markets. Views on U.S. stock markets are more mixed, with a third saying they’ll invest less in that asset class, 30 percent saying more and 29 percent saying about the same.

The poll was conducted Friday through Monday, starting the day the outcome of the vote became known and as the U.S. and global stock markets recorded significant drops.

The survey used a nationally representative opt-in panel of 2,003 registered voters, including 898 with money in the stock market through direct investment or retirement accounts. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points on the full sample, and plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for investors.

Those with higher levels of education and incomes are more likely to say that the Brexit vote will hurt the U.S. economy. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans or independents to hold that view.

Opinions are mixed on whether the decision will strengthen or weaken the “special relationship” that the U.K. and U.S. have traditionally enjoyed. Just less than a third say it will strengthen it, while 26 percent say it will weaken it and 42 percent said they don’t yet know or have no opinion.

America’s voters generally have a favorable view of Britain, with 62 percent saying they have a very or somewhat favorable view of the island nation. That’s a larger proportion than the 51 percent who say that of Germany, another close American ally.

The European Union is viewed favorably by 39 percent of voters, with 29 percent viewing it unfavorably and 31 percent having no opinion.

While almost two-thirds of U.S. voters are at least casually following Brexit news, understanding of the issue and election’s outcome aren’t universal. Two-thirds of those in the survey correctly selected that the U.K. had voted to leave the European Union, while 7 percent thought the outcome was the opposite of what happened and 26 percent said they didn’t know.

The level of awareness jumped in the second half of the survey period. During Friday and Saturday, 57 percent said they were at least casually following the situation, while that number jumped to 68 percent by Sunday and Monday.

Given a menu of possible reasons for the vote outcome, 46 percent of U.S. voters picked concern about immigration, with other top selections being excessive regulations from the European Union and economic insecurity, both at 42 percent, and general anger with the state of affairs at the EU, at 41 percent.

Less than a quarter of U.S. voters in the survey said they’ve visited the U.K. Those with household incomes above $100,000 were more likely to have made the trip across the Atlantic, with 38 percent of that group having been to the U.K.

See also:

U.S. insurers ‘less exposed’ by Brexit than other sectors

U.K. insurers reel as Brexit threatens $2.6 trillion of assets

Clash looms on Brexit as EU leaders spurn Cameron’s go-slow

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