As the Presidential election approaches and we emerge from the political conventions, the economy is shaping up to be a key issue. With Mitt Romney arguing that President Obama is responsible for the weak economy and the Obama camp taking credit for putting the country on the road to recovery, I wanted to share the voice of some voters that both candidates are likely to court – wealthy investors.
Maritz Research conducted a poll last spring among investors with investable assets of $100,000 or more. It yielded some findings that both candidates can take to heart as they make their run for the White House.
Not surprisingly, three-quarters of investors believe the economy is in fair or poor shape. What is holding the economy back? Eighty percent of investors cite depressed housing values and the international debt crisis and 70% the deficit and long-term debt. Convincing investors that they can solve these problems will move the candidate one step closer to the White House.
Is President Obama working from an advantage or a disadvantage? Overall, it appears that the President has some convincing to do – only 31% believe that the government has done a good job of steering the country through the difficult economy.
Who are the wealthy investors and how do they lean? Thirty-seven percent are Independents, 28% are Democrats, and 30% Republicans. The overall U.S. voter population, according to the Pew Research Center, is comprised of 33% Independents, 35% Democrats, and 28% Republicans. Clearly, the Independent investors are critical to both candidates.
So, let’s take a closer look at how the Independents view some key economic issues and what they mean for the candidates:
- Nearly half of the Independents (48%) believe the economy is improving and will continue to improve, compared to 73% of the Democrats and 29% of Republicans. The ability of the candidates to sway the Independents’ perception of economic progress could make a difference.
- Roughly half (52%) of Independents believe that unfair trade agreements are weakening the U.S. economy, while 68% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats hold this view. The candidates should not overlook the importance of their trade positions.
- Only 31% of Independents believe the new regulations on investment firms and banks will provide a safety net for investors, compared to 52% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans. The tricky part for the candidate is determining whether the Independents believe: a) the safety net is inadequate, b) they need a safety net at all, or c) whether the government should provide a safety net.
The candidate who solves the puzzle of securing the Independent investor vote may very well be the next occupant of the White House.