US voters would like more focus on the economy, survey shows

Approximately half of Americans are concerned about the economy this election season, according to a new survey. Fifty-four percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans believe that the overall economy is the top domestic issue facing the United States.

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    American flags fly at the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport in Benton Harbor, Mich. When voters go to the polls this November, the economy may be at the front of many of their minds.
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In this tumultuous election season, a number of Americans feel that the issues they care about aren’t getting airtime, and this could have an impact on the election in November.

According to a new survey by loanDepot, a national online consumer lender, approximately half of Americans are concerned about the economy this election season. Fifty-four percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans believe that the overall economy is the top domestic issue facing the United States.

While the economy is at the front of Americans’ minds, it isn’t always a talking point for candidates. Although one in five Americans believe a candidate’s housing and finance policies will influence their vote, 36 percent of those surveyed state that the presidential candidates are doing a poor job of articulating their housing and finance plans.

“People across the nation told us they want to hear more from the presidential candidates about their housing and financial policies on issues like income, access to credit, interest rates and affordable housing,” says loanDepot Chairman and CEO Anthony Hsieh in loanDepot’s report. “The candidate who does a good job in communicating their policies moving forward has an opportunity to influence millions of potential voters.”

Thirty seven percent of survey respondents said homeownership affordability is their number one economic concern, followed closely by low interest rates (34 percent). Homeownership seems to be an especially important topic for Millennials, 40 percent of whom indicated that homeownership affordability for low and middle-income should be a priority for the president’s first 100 days in office. 

Finding affordable housing, either to rent or to own, is a major roadblock for this age group. More young adults these days are living with their parents than with a significant other for the first time since 1880, according Josh Kenworthy of the Christian Science Monitor. However, for Millennials, the generation whose formative years were during the Great Recession, the number one economic concern is not making enough money. Thirty-six percent of Millennials answered that income was their greatest financial concern, as compared to 29 percent of people all ages.

Though the economy is a major concern for voters, voters’ perceptions of the economy don’t always match up with economic realities. For example, thirty-eight percent of Americans believe it is harder to attain a loan now than it was immediately after the financial crisis. However, according to Federal Reserve data, the denial rate of home purchase loan applications is down five percent since 2008. Denial rates of home refinance applications also dropped from 38 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2014.

Interest rates remain low and the number of jobs continues to increase after 75 months of consistent job growth, but Americans are concerned that the election could have a negative impact on a recovering economy. Fifty percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans believe they will be financially worse off after this year's presidential election. According to the Washington Post, one-third of economists polled state that uncertainty surrounding this year's election is already somewhat negatively impacting the economy.

Presidential candidates will need to persuade voters that they have the skill and the policies to grow the economy and positively influence voters, especially concerning the housing sector.


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