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More than 60 percent of Americans said the presidential election was the biggest threat to the economy over the next six months, according to the Bankrate,.com poll. Terrorism ranked a distant second followed by economic volatility abroad, a decline in the U.S. stock market and rising interest rates.
Republicans were only slightly more likely than Democrats or independents to say the election outcome was the biggest economic risk in the immediate future, Bankrate said of the survey of over 1,000 adults conducted earlier this month. The poll had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
Following a 27-month streak in which respondents reported improved feelings of financial security, "the election is wearing on Americans' feelings of confidence," according to Bankrate's Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride.
"People don't have a whole lot of extra money to throw around, and when you layer on the uncertainty of who is going to win the election, it is starting to take a toll on how consumers feel about where the economy might be headed."
That, he said, is enough to make them reel it in. "When consumers and businesses are uncertain, that has an impact on spending and can ultimately restrain consumer growth," McBride said.
Those who said they now feel less comfortable with their savings compared to last year outnumbered those who feel more comfortable by more than 2-to-1. And for the first time since January, those who said they are less comfortable with their debt compared to last year outweighed those feeling more comfortable.
Still, Americans are saving more for retirement than they have in the recent past, Bankrate said in a separate report. McBride advises consumers to "resist the knee-jerk reaction" regardless of this election's outcome.
"Taking a deep breath might be the better course," he said.