Americans Say DC, Not North Korea, Biggest Threat to Economy

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More Americans believe the political environment in Washington is a greater threat to the U.S. economy over the next six months than the saber-rattling involving North Korea, based on a Bankrate.com survey of U.S. adults conducted within the past week.

Of those surveyed, 36% cited the political situation in the nation’s capital as a greater threat to the economy than the danger posed by North Korea (24%), rising interest rates and terrorism (each at 10%) and a decline in the stock market (8%).

Democrats, college graduates and middle-income households expressed the most distaste for the political climate in the nation’s capital. All age groups selected D.C. politics as the biggest danger — 39% of baby boomers and 34% of millennials.

Three groups are more likely to fear North Korea than domestic politics: Republicans, Hispanics and southerners.

Baby boomers were more likely to view North Korea as the biggest near-term economic problem (32%), compared with just 15% of millennials.

Younger millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 26, put North Korea in fourth place. All other age ranges had the hermit regime second.

Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst, said in a statement:

Since we last asked this question in April, the stock market has repeatedly set new highs, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates again and announced the start of unwinding their bond holdings. Yet Americans’ angst about rising interest rates or a stock market decline barely registers, with worries instead centered around the political environment in Washington and developments on the international scene.

The Bankrate survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of about 1,000 adults living in the continental United States.