As Trump prepares for State of the Union, 50% of advisers approve of his job performance

Percentage is 10.3 points higher than the general population's approval rating

Jan 29, 2018 @ 5:01 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

President Donald J. Trump has more support among financial advisers than the overall public after a year in office.

An InvestmentNews online survey of 745 readers conducted on Monday shows that 50.2% of financial advisers approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing, while 44.8% disapprove. Of those who don't support the president, 34.7% "strongly disapprove."

Most surveys reveal more opposition to Mr. Trump, as he prepares for his first State of the Union address on Tuesday. A Real Clear Politics average of several polls shows him with 39.9% approval and 55.6% disapproval.

The strong performance of the stock market, the sweeping tax-reform bill approved late last year by a GOP-led Congress and a widespread deregulation effort have made Mr. Trump popular among financial advisers.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Trump has handled the job so far?
Note: Dates correspond with InvestmentNews polls.

"Everyone's loving life right now," said John Nowicki, president of LCM Capital Management. "He's causing the markets to go up."

The InvestmentNews survey shows that 59.4% of advisers support the tax overhaul, while 31.1% oppose it.

Scott Tucker, president of Scott Tucker Solutions, attributes his support of Mr. Trump to tax reform, which he says will spur economic growth by easing the tax burden on corporations.

"That's going to help a tremendous amount in buoying the stock market," Mr. Tucker said.

But not all advisers are giving Mr. Trump credit for stock market gains.

"We've had a growing economy and a booming stock market for quite a while now," said Carolyn McClanahan, founder of Life Planning Partners. "He's riding the coattails of that."

Do you approve or disapprove of President Trump's performance in the following policy areas?

Ms. McClanahan disapproves of Mr. Trump's performance in office because of his pugnacious political style. His frequent tweeting consistently sparks controversy as has his rhetoric regarding immigration and white-nationalist demonstrations.

"His way of political discourse is dividing the country," she said.

Even advisers who approve of Mr. Trump's handling of the economy have qualms about his lack of presidential decorum.

"From a financial perspective, I approve," said Paul Auslander, director of financial planning at ProVise Management Group. "From every other aspect, he's been an abject embarrassment. He's crude. He acts like a jerk. He calls people names."

A wariness toward Mr. Trump is reflected in two other questions on the InvestmentNews poll.

Despite his relatively high approval rating, the number of readers who have become more confident in his ability to function as president over his first year in office — 40.3% — is equal to the number who have become less confident — 39.7%. Those who would vote today to re-elect Mr. Trump — 50.75% — is only slightly higher than those who would oppose him — 49.25%.

Leon LaBrecque, managing partner at LJPR Financial Advisors, also has mixed feelings about Mr. Trump.

"I clearly like the results," Mr. LaBrecque said. "I don't like the way he's doing it. He's the most volatile president in my lifetime. But this is the least volatile market we've ever had."

Mr. Tucker said Mr. Trump's unpredictable behavior is one of his weaknesses.

How has your confidence in President Trump changed since the start of his term?
Note: Dates correspond with InvestmentNews polls.

"No investor wants something announced at 3 a.m.," Mr. Tucker said, referring to Mr. Trump's late-night tweeting habit. "A steadier hand would be nice. He's a master of free publicity, but he doesn't know when to turn it off."

Mr. Trump often becomes the center of attention by fighting political opponents on Twitter.

"His ability to be goaded into childish reactions is his biggest weakness," Mr. Auslander said.

One of Mr. Trump's strengths — stock market performance — could become a liability when the market declines.

"'How's your 401(k) doing?' That will be the buzz phrase that will be his demise," Mr. Nowicki said.

Which party do you want to see in control of Congress after the 2018 midterm elections?

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