Investors in CNBC’s latest All-American Economic Survey call Gold the “best investment,” even over real estate or stocks. The shiny yellow metal has a huge attraction. It seemingly knows no boundaries, from income levels to geographic regions, or even political parties.
“Gold has taken over perceptions across the public as being a good investment. If not first, gold comes in as a very close second among investors,” said pollster Jay Campbell of Hart Research, which ran the quarterly survey for CNBC. Overall, 37 percent said gold is the “best investment,” with real estate at 24 percent and stocks at 19 percent.
This coincides with a Gallup poll that shows thirty-four percent of Americans that say gold is the best long-term investment, more than four other types of investments, including distant second choices like real estate at 19% and 17% stocks.
The draw, say gold bulls, is the idea that the intrinsic value in a physical asset of finite supply can protect you from long-term inflation and economic unpredictability. Indeed, the survey shows that preference for gold rises as impressions of the economy falls. Among those who say the economy will get worse in the next year, 50 percent say gold is the best investment, compared with 32 percent who feel the economy will stay the same. With inflation concerns, 82 percent of Americans surveyed think the cost of everyday goods and services will rise over the next 12 months.
These anxieties are not limited to just one part of the country but reach all quarters of the nation. Americans from the Northeast, Midwest and South all point to gold as their number one choice, while in the West, they put real estate on top, but by only 1 percent.
Gold bullishness used to be thought of as strictly conservative territory but “gold bugs” (those bullish on the metal) are now found in every political persuasion, though there is a significant divide between right and left: 43 percent of both Republicans and tea-party adherents think gold is best, versus 32 and 33 percent of Independents and Democrats, respectively. For them, all other asset classes, including stocks, bonds, cash and real estate fall behind this particular precious metal.
Another interesting aspect is gold’s attraction for Americans of different income levels, 42 percent of those making over 100k per year say gold is best, while 39 percent (only 3% less) of people making more between $30k and $50k hold the same opinion on gold.