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As the election approaches, Democrats are warming to the state of their personal finances, while Republicans are feeling a bit more pessimistic, an analysis of data from Bankrate’s recent Financial Security Index found.
The mood has improved for independents as well, a slight shift upward from our measurement in September, which one political scientist at the time said showed a potential trouble spot for Hillary Clinton in her race against Donald Trump.
But Clinton’s support began to solidify following our earlier survey, conducted Sept. 1-4.
Our most recent poll was taken Oct. 6-9, amid a chaotic time in the election. On Oct. 7, the Washington Post first reported about an “Access Hollywood” video that shows Trump having an extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005. The second presidential debate was on Oct. 9.
A national poll commissioned Oct. 10-12 by Fox News showed that Clinton had opened a 7-point lead on Trump.
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The FSI survey asks consumers how they feel about debt, job security, savings and other factors compared with a year ago and converts that into a score, with any score over 100 showing an improvement in their overall finances.
The Financial Security Index:
- Increased from 103.6 to 106 for Democrats.
- Fell from 99.4 to 90.8 for Republicans.
- Increased from 97.0 to 99.2 for independents.
Not accounting for party affiliation, the Financial Security Index rose to 101.3, up from 99.9 in September, its lowest level in more than 2 years.
Among the measures that make up the Financial Security Index, Democrats felt much better about job security and their overall financial condition. Just 14% of Republicans in our survey indicated they felt more secure in their employment compared with 12 months ago, while 30% of Democrats said the same.
Meanwhile 29% of Republicans said they feel worse about their overall financial situation than they did one year ago, compared with 14% for Democrats.
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Confidence in victory?
Why are Democrats feeling so good? Perhaps they’re confident in a Clinton victory. It may also be a reflection of the current administration, says Jared Barton, an assistant professor of economics at the California State University-Channel Islands Martin V. School of Business and Economics.
“Whoever’s party controls the White House, they feel more positively, so positive news gets soaked up by them,” he says.
Even so, Barton says he’s unsure the slight change in one month means anything, and if it does, he’s not sure we could point to a reason why.
“Lots of things happened in between those 2” surveys, he says.