Economy Watch: Election Making Americans Nervous About Economy

More than half of respondents to a recent Bankrate survey said they think the presidential election poses the biggest threat to the U.S. economy in the next six months.

Americans might really have nothing to fear but fear itself, but when did a survey recently about what Americans think poses the biggest threat to the U.S. economy over the next six months, fear of the 2016 election was front and center. Fully 61 percent of respondents said the gravest threat to the well-being of the economy is the outcome of the presidential election. That’s far more than cited terrorism, struggling overseas economies, a drop in stock market or an increase in interest rates.

On the whole, the fear is bipartisan. More than 60 percent of those who have an affiliation—Democrat, Republican and Independent—cited the election, though slightly more Republicans did than Democrats or Independents. A majority of every demographic group also fear the election outcome, including those based on gender, age, income, ethnicity and education level.

Bankrate also reported that its Bankrate Financial Security Index—which is based on how people feel about their debt, savings, net worth, job security and so forth—dropped to 99.9 this month, its lowest level in more than two years. The reading was done during the first week of September, and a reading below 100 means that respondents have a “fading feeling of financial security,” according to Bankrate.

A reading of 99.9 isn’t that insecure, but it does end 27 consecutive months during which Americans had reported improved financial security compared to the year before. In fact, September’s reading is the lowest since May 2014, when the index was 98.7. The election, it seems, is giving people the heebie-jeebies.