Financial security is strongly correlated with nearly every measure of political engagement. For example, in 2014, almost all of the most financially secure Americans (94%) said they were registered to vote, while only about half (54%) of the least financially secure were registered. And although 2014 voting records are not yet available, pre-election estimates suggest that 63% of the most financially secure were “likely voters” last year, compared with just 20% of the least financially secure.
This pattern is not unique to 2014. Looking back at voting records from four years earlier, 69% of the most financially secure cast ballots in the 2010 midterm, while just 30% of the least financially secure did so1.
Financially insecure Americans are also far less likely than those at the top of the security scale to be politically engaged in other ways. For example, just 14% say they have contacted an elected official in the last two years; by comparison 42% of the most secure have done this. And when it comes to overall awareness of the political landscape, about six-in-ten (61%) of the most financially secure Americans could correctly identify the parties in control of both the House and Senate, compared with just 26% of the least financially secure. (To put this in context, because these are two two-option multiple-choice questions, this latter figure is no greater a percentage than would have identified this by chance.)