Financial Insecurity Higher for Those Who Favor Trump

Financial Insecurity Higher for Those Who Favor Trump

Financial Insecurity Higher for Those Who Favor Trump

The FINANCIAL -- Many political analysts have tried to pinpoint the reasons why Donald Trump, a political outsider, has won the Republican party's presidential nomination.

A new Gallup analysis offers one clue: Americans who view Trump favorably are significantly more likely than other Americans to report feeling financially insecure. The large gap in financial insecurity persists even after controlling for income, education, occupation, party affiliation and various other measures of objective economic circumstances.

This analysis is based on interviews conducted July 2015 through August 2016 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. Over this period, Gallup asked a random sample of U.S. adults two of the eight questions measuring financial worry, shown below.

Gallup U.S. Financial Anxiety Index

Questions Measuring Financial Worry

1 You are watching your spending very closely.

2 Would you be able right now to make a major purchase, such as a car, appliance or furniture, or pay for a significant home repair if you needed to?

3 At this time, are you cutting back on how much money you spend each week, or not?

4 Are you feeling pretty good these days about the amount of money you have to spend, or not?

5 Did you worry yesterday that you spent too much money, or not?

6 You have more than enough money to do what you want to do.

7 Do you have enough money to buy the things you need, or not?

8 Are you feeling better about your financial situation these days, or not?

Americans with a favorable opinion of Trump report relatively high levels of financial anxiety across seven of eight survey questions when compared with those holding an unfavorable view of Trump. For example, those with a favorable opinion of Trump are 23 percentage points more likely to say they are not feeling better about their financial situation these days, 17 points more likely to say they do not feel good about the amount of money they have to spend and 13 points more likely to say they are cutting back on spending.

Republicans and conservatives have reported higher levels of financial insecurity than Democrats and liberals since at least 2013, but these party and ideological differences do not account for the gap in financial insecurity between those who do and do not favor Trump. Republicans who view Trump favorably are still more likely to express economic insecurity on each item than Republicans who view him unfavorably.

For example, 59% of Republicans who have a favorable view of Trump report that they do not feel good about the amount of money they have to spend, compared with 45% of Republicans who have an unfavorable view of Trump. Republicans who have a favorable view of Trump are also 15 points more likely than fellow Republicans who do not favor Trump to say they are not feeling better about their financial situation these days, according to Gallup.

Financial Insecurity Particularly High Among Affluent Trump Supporters

Financial anxiety is generally lower among those with higher household incomes, but across income groups, those who view Trump favorably are more likely to be worried about their personal finances.

The largest gaps in worries about personal finances tend to be found in households earning $200,000 or more in annual income. Among these affluent households, 51% of those who favor Trump say they don't have enough money to buy what they want, compared with just 31% of those who do not favor Trump. Those who favor Trump are also twice as likely as those who do not favor Trump to report that they are not feeling better about their financial situation (52% vs. 25%). Similar differences occur on the other financial questions tested.

The differences in financial worry between those who do and do not favor Trump are smaller among households with annual income below $100,000, although even within this group, statistically significant gaps remain for seven of the eight questions.

Heightened Insecurity Not Readily Explained by Objective Circumstances

Donald Trump has a more positive image among people who worry about their finances, no matter how grounded those concerns are in the apparent reality of their circumstances.

The financial insecurity gap between those who do and do not view Trump favorably cannot be explained by income or other objective economic and social circumstances. The relationship between viewing Trump favorably and feeling financially insecure holds even after statistically controlling for individual factors such as age, veteran status, gender, race, ethnicity, employment status, education, occupational category, religion, party affiliation and ideology.

Likewise, the gap remains even after taking into account the local cost of living, the average income of people living in the respondents' ZIP codes and income growth in those ZIP codes. For additional details on other variables included in this analysis, see the survey methods section.

It is unclear what is behind the significant relationship between the high levels of financial insecurity and having a favorable opinion of Trump. It may be that there are unmeasured economic factors or experiences not considered here that explain the correlation, or the financial insecurity gap may be attributable to other differences -- such as knowledge, media consumption, cultural practices or some other factor -- between those who favor Trump and those who do not.