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Survey Highlights Deep Divide Among Democrats and Republicans on Key Financial Issues

Alexandria Bova
Democrats vs republicans are facing off in a ideological duel on the american flag.

Twenty Democrats and four Republicans are currently in the running for the 2020 presidential election, with the Democratic nomination one of the largest and most competitive in U.S. history. As of Sept. 6, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden currently leads the Democratic candidates at 29%, according to The New York Times. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been gaining popularity as the debates continue and is sitting at 17%, with Sen. Bernie Sanders right behind her at 15%. Sen. Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the next closest competitors in the single digits at 7% and 5%, respectively

President Donald Trump is the current leader for the Republican nomination; however, three other candidates have thrown their hat in the ring, including former congressman and governor Mark Sanford, former congressman and radio talk show host Joe Walsh and former governor and federal prosecutor William F. Weld

Some presidential candidates have been more outspoken than others regarding their stance on healthcare, social security, cost of living, student loan debt and other heated topics. Warren’s platform is firmly rooted in signature issues like income inequality and wiping out federal student loan debt. Meanwhile, Biden hopes to propose a climate change plan and increase federal funding for low-income schools. Both Sanford and Walsh plan to address the growing national debt. Trump plans to make healthcare a primary focus of his 2020 campaign. But which of these 2020 presidential candidates would be best, financially, for voters?

GOBankingRates surveyed 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older asking various questions about the current presidential candidates and their views on personal finance and economic issues plaguing Americans today. This is what voters are looking for in their ideal presidential candidate.

Americans Believe Trump Is the Best President For Their Money

The state of the economy played a pivotal role in the 2012 election, so it’s no surprise that it’s once again at the forefront of conversation as the 2020 election looms. However, when it comes to personal finance, Americans seem to hold firm in their support for the current president.

Survey question: Which U.S. presidential candidate would be best for you financially if elected?

Presidential Candidate Response Rate
Donald Trump (R) 40%
Other 16.2%
Bernie Sanders (D) 14.4%
Joe Biden (D) 12.6%
Elizabeth Warren (D) 9.5%
Pete Buttigieg (D) 2.5%
Kamala Harris (D) 2.1%
William F. Weld (R) 1.5%
Cory Booker (D) 1.2%

Forty percent of all survey respondents believe that Trump is the best option for them financially, and nearly 89% of Republican survey respondents chose Trump as their ideal candidate. Over 27% of Democratic survey respondents believe Biden is the best candidate, followed closely by Sanders and Warren at 26% and 24%, respectively. 

The closest Democratic candidate to Trump in the overall results for this question was Sanders at 14.4%, followed by Biden at 12.6%. Surprisingly, the second-most popular answer was “Other” with over 16% of respondents giving that answer, perhaps indicating that no current presidential candidate checks all the boxes in regards to personal finance issues for many Americans. 

Survey respondents were also asked, “Do you agree with the following statement: I will not vote for a U.S. presidential candidate who has bad personal finances (e.g., one who is drowning in debt) or has bad personal finance habits.” Nearly 72% of Americans agreed with this statement, whereas 28% did not. Republican and Democratic survey respondents’ answers were fairly aligned for this question, with over 77% of Democratic voters and nearly 71% of Republican voters agreeing with the statement. 

They Also Think He’s More Capable of Leading the U.S. Out of a Recession

Many Americans want to elect a president that will help them achieve their personal finance goals, in addition to growing the economy. Americans’ values and beliefs have become increasingly polarized over the past decade, and heated topics like healthcare, student loan debt, job security and preparations for the next recession figure to play a prominent role in the upcoming election. Perhaps Americans will feel confident in the hands of Trump should he hold office after the 2020 election.

Survey question: Which presidential candidate would do the best job at getting the U.S. out of a recession or economic downturn?

Presidential Candidate Response Rate
Donald Trump (R) 41.7%
Bernie Sanders (D) 14.2%
Joe Biden (D) 12.9%
Other 12.8%
Elizabeth Warren (D) 9.3%
Kamala Harris (D) 3%
Pete Buttigieg (D) 2.4%
William F. Weld (R) 2.3%
Cory Booker (D) 1.4%

Personal finances aside, nearly 42% of Americans believe Trump is the best candidate to assist the U.S. economy should another recession strike. Sanders and Biden fall considerably behind Trump in regards to an economic downturn at 14% and 13%, respectively, in the overall results.

Democratic respondents, though, have faith in Biden pulling America out of a recession at over 28%, with Sanders and Warren closely behind at 25% and 23%, respectively. Many Democratic candidates have brought the topic of a possible recession to the forefront of their political conversations, hoping voters will favor stability rather than radical shifts in economic policy. 

Healthcare Is Still a Key Issue For Many Americans

Though Americans fear an impending recession, it seems as though other economic issues are taking precedence in determining who they’ll vote for in the 2020 election.

Survey question: What do you think is the No. 1 personal finance or economic issue the next U.S. president should focus on when elected?

Issue Response Rate
Healthcare 24.7%
Social Security 19.3%
Cost of Living 17.5%
Taxes 10%
Medicare 7.7%
Job Market 7.5%
Student Loan Debt 7%
Universal Basic Income 5.1%
Housing Market 1.2%

Democratic survey respondents agreed that healthcare was the most important personal finance or economic issue at nearly 32%. Social Security, however, barely edged out healthcare by mere decimal points for Republican respondents. Overall, though, healthcare was the most important personal finance or economic issue that Americans are concerned about. The second-most popular answer choice was Social Security at slightly over 19%, followed by cost of living at just under 18%. 

Any candidate ignoring healthcare as a debate topic may be in trouble in 2020. The Trump administration has attempted to make considerable changes to the American healthcare system, and part of Trump’s re-election campaign strategy will push heavily on creating an alternative to former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Many Democratic presidential hopefuls are backing some version of “Medicare for All,” which eliminates private health insurance and guarantees healthcare for everyone. Biden, however, is against this particular plan and has advocated for a government-run health insurance plan

Americans Would Rather Their President Have Business Experience Over Political Experience

Many Americans are also struggling to decide if they should vote for a candidate with political experience and a proven track record or someone with fresh ideas and a different approach to personal finance and economic growth.

Survey question: Which of the following characteristics would your ideal president have? Select all that apply.

Characteristic Response Rate
Business Experience 58.9%
Previous Political Experience 48.2%
College Education (Bachelor’s Degree or Higher) 46.7%
Military Experience 29.35
Other 11.5%
Fortune 7.6%
Fame 4%

Perhaps surprisingly, almost 59% of overall survey respondents said they would rather have a president with business experience over political experience. Previous political experience trailed behind at just over 48%. However, Democratic respondents favored political experience over business experience — 77% versus 45%, respectively — whereas Republican respondents sided with the majority answer at nearly 85%.

Many candidates with business experience have run for office before, including Trump. Running a business can uncover how the government affects the private sector, which influences economic growth and standards across the nation. However, there are considerable differences between leading the federal government and running a business, including problems regarding domestic and foreign policies. 

More Than a Third of Americans Are Still Unsure Who They’ll Vote For in 2020

Though many Americans seem to have their ideal candidate already picked out, over 37% of survey respondents are still unsure who they will vote for next year. 

Survey question: Which of the following best describes you?

Answer Choice Response Rate
I am not sure who I will vote in the 2020 election. 37.6%
I plan to vote for a Republican in the 2020 election. 29.3%
I plan to vote for a Democrat in the 2020 election. 26.6%
I plan to vote, but neither Democrat nor Republican. 6.5%

Almost 38% of survey respondents plan to vote Republican over Democrat, and more than 6% of Americans don’t plan to vote for either party.

Voters ages 35 to 44 were the most uncertain in who they would choose in the upcoming election at nearly 46%, while survey respondents ages 65 and older were the most certain at over 28%. Gen Z — ages 18 to 24 — were most likely to vote Democratic at 36%, and older baby boomers were more likely to vote Republican in 2020 at 44%.

Though there are more presidential hopefuls than ever before, there is still time to decide which candidate most aligns with your personal finance goals and economic views. More importantly, make time to educate yourself on each candidate by learning more about their particular policies and proposals. 

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between Aug. 14, 2019, and Sept. 4, 2019, asking six different questions: (1) Which U.S. presidential candidate would be best for you financially if elected?; (2) What do you think is the No. 1 personal finance or economic issue the next U.S. president should focus on when elected?; (3) Do you agree with the following statement: I will not vote for a U.S. presidential candidate who has bad personal finances (e.g., one who is drowning in debt) or has bad personal finance habits.; (4) Consider the following hypothetical scenario: Which presidential candidate would do the best job at getting the U.S. out of a recession or economic downturn?; (5) Which of the following characteristics would your ideal president have? Select all that apply.; (6) Which of the following best describes you?

GOBankingRates used Survata’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Survey Highlights Deep Divide Among Democrats and Republicans on Key Financial Issues