The FINANCIAL — As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare to face off in their third and final debate, an Economic Sentiment Survey released by MasterCard Advisors.
The FINANCIAL — As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare to face off in their third and final debate, an Economic Sentiment Survey released today by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard, shows that consumers are cautiously optimistic when it comes to their economic outlook, and are placing a high degree of importance on the outcome of the presidential election as it relates to their financial future.
In a survey of a representative sample of Americans that was carried out in September 2008 and again in September 2012 leading up to the elections, MasterCard research found an increase in the number of people who believe the election results will have a direct impact on their personal finances. As MasterCard reported, in 2008, 49 percent of respondents said the election would have “little or no impact” on their financial situation. That number dropped to 29 percent in 2012. In addition, 31 percent of consumers said this year’s election would make “a great deal of difference” to their financial outlook, and 40 percent indicated it would at least make “some difference.”
“MasterCard undertook this study to better understand how consumer sentiment might affect voter behavior on November 6, compared with the election four years ago. With 28 percent of respondents reporting that they are living paycheck-to-paycheck, the survey results continue to show a consumer populace still struggling with unemployment and lack of control over their personal finances,” said Teik Tung, study lead and Principal at MasterCard Advisors. “However, the changes we’re seeing in the survey between 2008 and 2012 are indicative of a slight improvement in overall consumer optimism about the economy as people prepare to cast their ballots for president.”
The MasterCard survey showed that, while general confidence in the economy’s stability was still low, respondents who felt the economy was “somewhat stable” rose from 20 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2012. An additional 8 percent of those surveyed felt it was “relatively stable,” and only 3 percent felt the economy was “very stable.” This was a slight increase over election season in the fall of 2008, when 20 percent of people surveyed felt it was “somewhat stable,” 6 percent thought it was “relatively stable,” and zero percent felt it was very stable.
MasterCard’s analysis also found that while 24 percent of respondents said they expected to see an improvement in the economy over the next six months (compared to 14% in 2008), only 9 percent of those surveyed said they felt comfortable increasing their spend in the current landscape. More than half (58%) said they felt they “should be spending as little as possible.”
Forty percent of consumers polled also felt that the current economy is negatively affecting their job security, 32 percent had anxiety about loss of family income, and 29 percent believed the economy would cause them to accumulate more debt.