Do Your Political Views Color How You Handle Money?

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For the Presidents Day holiday, the coupon website RetailMeNot (SALE) conducted a survey to see how people's political leanings and financial habits aligned.

Consumers were asked to select their political affiliations (e.g. "conservative," "liberal," "Democrat," "Republican") and then queried about everything from their personal debt ceilings to their savings habits, spending plans, and investing practices.

While not every question yielded a perfect correlation between political stereotypes and spending/saving habits, the survey did show that consumers who call themselves conservatives are more likely to describe themselves as savers (66 percent vs. 53 percent of liberals calling themselves savers). On the flip side, consumers who label themselves as liberals are more likely to call themselves spenders (47 percent vs. 34 percent of conservatives who say they're spenders).

Other findings blur the party lines a bit:
  • Both Democrats and Republicans report suffering from a debt hangover from the 2013 holidays. Democrats have an average debt of $260 in leftover holiday spending, and Republicans aren't far behind, with $248 still to pay off. Independents had the lowest holiday debt hangover, with $218.
  • Mistrust of the financial system -- or at least refusal to deal with it -- appears among both Democrats and Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats say they stash their cash at home -- not in a bank or brokerage.
  • As far as savings goals, conservatives and moderates are more likely to save for retirement (30 percent and 29 percent) than liberals (22 percent). And liberals are more likely to save for college or grad school tuition (23 percent vs. 16 percent of conservatives and 14 percent of moderates.
  • Stashing money in a coffee can won't help much in reaching those savings goals. (That cash won't even keep up with inflation over the long term.) Most long-term goals require a smart investing plan. And in this area it's Republicans (31 percent) who use financial investments as a way to save money more than Democrats (19 percent).
As far as shopping the economy back to health, liberals and moderates plan to shell out some big money this year (on a new or upgraded big-ticket item like a tech gadget, furniture, or appliance). Just 56 percent of conservatives say they intend to make a major purchase this year, compared to 71 percent of liberals and 66 percent of moderates.

When you look at your own spending habits, do you see a correlation with your political leanings? Chime in below. The online survey was conducted Dec. 26-Jan. 3 and involved 1,014 U.S. residents 18 and older, reached via an email invitation.

Michele Lerner has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends RetailMeNot. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days. ‚Äč

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3 Comments

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Annette

Liberals are the cheapest people on earth, always looking to count and spend other people's money rather than spend their own. These cheap artists like free stuff, and always feel entitled to a discount and bargain.

February 19 2014 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
psignspdq

Yep. I no longer give my business to any of the businesses which have trashed Obama and Obamacare for example. That would include Olive Garden and Red Lobster, and we're getting rid of AOL as quick as we can. The leaders of those businesses could care less about the country and its people. They only want to bleed as much profit as they can. They won't get it from me. I try to buy Made in America products, too. I've voted for Republicans in the past, but never again after the bigotry, racism and general hate of the country that party has shown in the past five-plus years.

February 17 2014 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
dkk82d

No surprise. This is why on a national level, Democrats spend us into perpetual debt. They just can't help spending other people's money.

February 17 2014 at 3:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tfarnon

Heh. Politically, I'm extremely liberal. Financially, I'm as conservative as they come. My life history also points to a more conservative outlook: I have bachelors' degrees in three related sciences. I am an Army veteran. I worked in banking for 9 years. You would think I'd be solidly in the Republican camp. And you would be completely wrong. I am a liberal BECAUSE I am a veteran and a scientist.

February 17 2014 at 9:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
frank1946

Do Not eat your Seed Corn.

Hunger Happens !

February 17 2014 at 7:33 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply