Even as investor concerns about market volatility subside, a new survey finds affluent investors somewhat spooked by politics as the U.S. presidential primary season enters Super Tuesday.
Twenty-two percent of affluent investors said stories about the political environment weighed most heavily in shaping their current economic outlook, up from 12 percent when the question was last asked three months ago, according to a February survey of affluent investors by Spectrem Group.
Terrorism, on the other hand, was only reported as the most serious concern by 2 percent of investors, down from 34 percent three months ago.
Affluent investors, defined by Spectrem as those with more than $500,000 in investible assets, reported being more confident in February, with the research firm’s Affluent Investor Confidence Index reaching -3, an increase of one point from January but still down 15 points year-over-year. The Millionaire Investor Confidence Index rose five points in the same period, from -3 to 2, 11 points lower than it was at this time in 2015.
Confidence is measured on a range from -51, for highly bearish sentiments, to 51, for a bullish outlook. Spectrem considers values between -10 and 10 to be neutral.
Spectrem reports that women tended to be less optimistic than men. The Affluent investor Confidence Index for women was at -10 in February, but for men it was at 1. The Millionaire Investor Confidence Index was at -4 for women last month, while it measured at 5 for men. Republican investors also reported being more optimistic than their Democratic and independent counterparts.
The 22 percent who were most disturbed about the turbulent political environment trumped those most concerned about international developments, 17 percent; the stock market conditions, 19 percent; and oil prices, 18 percent.
Affluent Republicans, at 26 percent, were more likely than independent or Democratic investors, at 20 and 18 percent, respectively, to report that the political environment had the most impact on their economic expectations.
Spectrem opined that as political rancor increases amid the primaries and in Congress following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, investors were becoming more concerned about the outcomes of the upcoming elections.
The survey was conducted between the Iowa Caucus and the South Carolina Republican Primary.