High Stakes Election: More Than 70% of U.S. Consumers Say Presidential Outcome Will Impact Pocketbooks, According to MasterCard Survey

October 21, 2012

MasterCard Economic Sentiment Survey Shows Consumers Cautiously Optimistic About Economy—27% View It As “Somewhat Stable,” Up Slightly from 2008

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PURCHASE, N.Y. – [October 21, 2012] – As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare to face off in their third and final debate, an Economic Sentiment Survey released today by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard (NYSE: MA), shows that consumers are cautiously optimistic when it comes to their economic outlook, and are placing a high degree of importance on the outcome of the presidential election as it relates to their financial future.  In a survey of a representative sample of Americans that was carried out in September 2008 and again in September 2012 leading up to the elections, MasterCard research found an increase in the number of people who believe the election results will have a direct impact on their personal finances. In 2008, 49 percent of respondents said the election would have “little or no impact” on their financial situation. That number dropped to 29 percent in 2012. In addition, 31 percent of consumers said this year’s election would make “a great deal of difference” to their financial outlook, and 40 percent indicated it would at least make “some difference.” 

“MasterCard undertook this study to better understand how consumer sentiment might affect voter behavior on November 6, compared with the election four years ago. With 28 percent of respondents reporting that they are living paycheck-to-paycheck, the survey results continue to show a consumer populace still struggling with unemployment and lack of control over their personal finances,” said Teik Tung, study lead and Principal at MasterCard Advisors. “However, the changes we’re seeing in the survey between 2008 and 2012 are indicative of a slight improvement in overall consumer optimism about the economy as people prepare to cast their ballots for president.”

The MasterCard survey showed that, while general confidence in the economy’s stability was still low, respondents who felt the economy was “somewhat stable” rose from 20 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2012.  An additional 8 percent of those surveyed felt it was “relatively stable,” and only 3 percent felt the economy was “very stable.” This was a slight increase over election season in the fall of 2008, when 20 percent of people surveyed felt it was “somewhat stable,” 6 percent thought it was “relatively stable,” and zero percent felt it was very stable.

MasterCard’s analysis also found that while 24 percent of respondents said they expected to see an improvement in the economy over the next six months (compared to 14% in 2008), only 9 percent of those surveyed said they felt comfortable increasing their spend in the current landscape. More than half (58%) said they felt they “should be spending as little as possible.”

Forty percent of consumers polled also felt that the current economy is negatively affecting their job security, 32 percent had anxiety about loss of family income, and 29 percent believed the economy would cause them to accumulate more debt.

Note to Editors: Survey Methodology

An online survey of more than 2,000 respondents was conducted in September of 2012 to gauge the economic sentiment of a statistically significant and representative census-balanced sample of Americans leading up to this year’s presidential elections. The results of this survey were compared against an identical survey that was conducted in September of 2008 to assess the change in the economic sentiment of Americans that has taken place over the past four years.

About MasterCard Advisors

As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services that deliver value to its customers. In doing so, the company uses information to create products and services in which privacy and security are fundamental to their design. A technology company that is an electronic payments leader, MasterCard is committed to the responsible use of information and pledges strong privacy protection for the transaction data the company processes. Its information management practices support the company’s mission to make payments safe, simple and smart. For more information, go to www.mastercardadvisors.com

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

Media Contacts:

Meir Kahtan

Meir Kahtan Public Relations, LLC

+1 212-575-8188

mkahtan@rcn.com

Marisa Grimes

MasterCard Worldwide Communications

+1 914-249-2024

marisa_grimes@mastercard.com

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