The Most Reliable Voters Are Independents?

This November, Americans around the nation will go to the polls to elect the next President of the United States as the leaves change color and start to drift away. The support for the two major party candidates is at its lowest point in twenty years, making this election substantially different from the previous ones.

Young white Millennials in particular are becoming increasingly independent of the two major political parties in our nation and referring to themselves as such. Since there are so many of them, the 2016 Presidential election may well be decided by them.

Yet many “Independents” (those who are not affiliated with a political party) still favor one party over the other when casting their ballots. This group therefore consists of individuals from all political perspectives, each with its own set of ideals, circumstances, and financial practices.

We questioned: How do party-specific voters’ credit habits relate to Independent voters’? To discover out, we surveyed a representative sample of Credit Sesame’s eight million users. We specifically polled 1,600 Credit Sesame users who said they would vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, themselves as Independents, or not at all.

Independents owe the most on their credit cards.

Independent voters have the highest median credit card debt of all poll participants, at $2,958.

That’s a lot of debt, but Independent voters appear to use credit much more responsibly given that they also have the highest median credit card limits ($18,250). The lowest overall credit utilization (16%), a crucial indicator of creditworthiness, is among independent voters.

If a consumer has a higher income, some credit card providers are more inclined to extend credit (and higher limits).

The ability to pay off more debt with a higher salary makes it impossible to assess whether Independent voters also have the highest incomes of all voting groupings, but we do know that Independent voters are both more inclined to seek out credit and have the capacity to do so.

Additionally, they owe the most money on school loans.

Independent voters are more likely than any other group to have student loan debt; 43% of respondents said they presently have one or more loans.

Independent voters also have the largest average student loan debt of any category, at $38,555.

This is logical. Independent voters are typically young people who are either in college or just starting their jobs, which is the stage of life when people are most likely to have substantial student loan debt.

Mortgage amounts are higher for independents.

Currently, 26% of Independent voters are currently underwater on their mortgage.

The median mortgage balance for all voting categories is $192,756, and those mortgages also have the highest balances.

This makes sense if Independent voters tend to be a younger demographic, just like with student debt. These borrowers can be in the first few years of a 30-year mortgage, which prevents them from having had much opportunity to considerably reduce the principle.

Republicans come in second with $169,169, likely having had more time to pay off their debts as they tend to be an older demographic.

How do their credit ratings look?

Independent voters typically have more credit card, student loan, and mortgage debt, as has been seen. You could assume that they would have the lowest credit ratings as a result. Contrary to popular belief, independent voters have the best credit ratings of all voter categories.

Independent voters have an average credit score of 675. With a median credit score of 656, Trump supporters are the next closest group, and Clinton backers, with a score of 652, are right behind them.

Since Independent voters tend to be younger than other groups, they haven’t had a chance to experience some of the horrible financial events that can occur in life, which is why they can have the highest levels of debt of any group while still outperforming them in the fight for credit scores.

Independents use credit, but compared to other consumer categories, they only use a percentage of their available credit. Creditors consider your credit use heavily when evaluating your creditworthiness; in fact, it accounts for 30% of your FICO® score. (VantageScore does not reveal the precise breakdown but accords credit score variables a similar weight.)

Additionally, independent voters typically have a more varied credit history. Mortgages and student loans are the two types of debt that Independent voters have the most of.

Have You Heard? Potential lenders see a wide credit mix favorably since it demonstrates that the borrower can handle a range of debt types.

In reality, 10% of your credit score is determined on your credit mix, thus Independent voters triumph in this category as well.

The age of their credit files is one area where Independent voters probably don’t have an advantage over other voters. Your credit score is 15% weighted by file age. We don’t know the age of Credit Sesame members, but given that Independents are often younger, it would be reflected in both the average file age and the age of their oldest account. However, it doesn’t seem like they are significantly hindered by falling short in this area considering that they are so far ahead in terms of credit use rates and credit mix.

How Do Voter Absentees Fare?

Nonvoters are a voting bloc that is even greater than Independent voters. Roughly 40% of Americans haven’t cast a ballot in a presidential election in nearly a century[5].

The Pew Research Center reports that nonvoters are typically younger, less educated, and low-income earners[6]. Despite the fact that nonvoters provided us with less replies than any other group, we still found some patterns.

Generally speaking, nonvoters tended to be fearful of debt or may have low salaries that exclude them from being eligible for the larger debt loads that other voter groups hold.

We do know that among all voting groups, nonvoters are the least likely to utilize credit—nearly one in five nonvoters don’t even have a credit card. The average credit limit for voters who do have credit cards is $7,500, which is the lowest of any voter demographic. This tends to corroborate the theory that their wages may be too low for them to be approved for a lot of debt, such as mortgages.

The non-voters have generally worse credit scores, which may be because they avoid or don’t qualify for numerous credit products. Non-voters have a median credit score of 623, which is significantly lower than the median credit score of Independent voters, which is 675. However, nonvoters can still raise their credit scores with a little effort and persistence—regardless of income.

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