Investors losing confidence in Donald Trump: poll

Hillary Clinton gains ground on question of who is best for the portfolio

Aug 17, 2016 @ 10:36 am

By Bloomberg News

U.S. voters with investments in stocks and mutual funds have lost considerable confidence in Donald Trump when it comes to their portfolios, with a growing share saying they would alter their asset mix if he's elected president.

A Bloomberg Politics/Morning Consult poll found registered voters with money in the market narrowly pick the Republican over Democrat Hillary Clinton, 42% to 40%, as the candidate who would be better for their holdings. That's down from a Trump advantage of 50% to 33% when a similar survey was taken in June.

Those with more than $50,000 invested are more likely to view Ms. Clinton as better for their portfolios than Mr. Trump, 46% to 36%. Investors with smaller accounts are more likely to view Trump as better for their assets, 47% to 31%.

On who would better handle an economic recession as president, Mr. Trump has also lost ground to Ms. Clinton since the June survey. Among registered voters, he beats her on the question by just 2 percentage points, 41% to 39%, compared to 9 points in the previous poll. Almost half of voters say such a downturn is likely in the next four years.

“The dramatic shift in investor confidence away from Trump coincides with his declining poll and favorability ratings since the national conventions ended a few weeks ago,” said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult, a Washington-based media and technology company. “What remains to be seen, though, is if Clinton is able to surpass Trump among this elite group, as he continues to highlight his business acumen as a pillar of his campaign.”

The online survey was conducted Aug. 11-14 using a nationally representative opt-in panel of 2,001 registered voters, including 880 with money in the stock market and mutual funds. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points on the full sample, and plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for investors.

TAX PROPOSALS

Six in 10 voters say they support the so-called Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett and backed by Ms. Clinton and President Barack Obama, that would tax incomes exceeding $1 million at a minimum rate of 30%.

About the same share, 63%, say they support limits on pay for corporate executives.

Among several other tax and economic proposals from candidates tested in the poll, two-thirds support Ms. Clinton's suggestion to apply a 4% income-tax "surcharge" on earnings above $5 million, which would affect 0.02% of taxpayers, according to the Democrat's campaign.

A majority of voters, 54%, oppose Mr. Trump's proposal to lower the top income-tax rate to 33% from 39.6%. A plurality of voters, 44%, disapprove of his call to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%.

Voters' views on the estate tax, which Republicans sometimes call the “death tax,” are mixed, suggesting that many don't know that it applies only to estates worth more than $5.45 million. Almost half, 49%, say they oppose raising the tax, as Ms. Clinton advocates. Mr. Trump has proposed doing away with the tax all together.

Yet in response to a subsequent question about whether the tax should be applied to estates worth more than $3.5 million — a bigger share than the law currently covers — as Ms. Clinton has proposed, 53% say they support the idea.

Ms. Clinton plans to contrast her tax plan with Mr. Trump's at a stop in Cleveland on Wednesday, according to her campaign, which says Mr. Trump's family could get a $4 billion tax break if the estate tax is eliminated and if his claim of a $10 billion net worth is true. (The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his wealth at $3 billion.)

MARKET OUTLOOK

With U.S. stocks touching record highs in recent days, voters are divided on whether they agree with Mr. Trump's recent assessment that the market is a "big bubble." More than a third agree with him, while 31% disagree and another 30% are unsure.

Voters are equally divided on where they think the stock market will be a year from now. Thirty percent say they expect equities to be somewhat or much higher, while 29% say about the same and 14% say somewhat or much lower.

In the eyes of market participants, Mr. Trump's candidacy may be creating a greater sense of uncertainty as the November election gets closer. Almost a third of voters who invest, 32%, say they would alter their investments if he were elected president, up from 26% in June. If Ms. Clinton were elected, 27% of voters who invest say they would change their mix, down 1 percentage point from the last survey.

Cash and gold are the top choices for those who say they would alter their investments based on the outcome of the election — a small subset of the poll's participants. Both assets are traditionally viewed as a place of safety at times of uncertainty.

Half who would make changes following a Trump election say they would invest less in the U.S. stock market, while 54% say so among those who would make a change following a Clinton win.

INCOME INEQUALITY

On questions that touch on the issue of income inequality, almost two-thirds of voters say they support an income-tax system that taxes higher incomes at higher rates. Almost half, 45% support the idea of the government providing everyone with a guaranteed minimum income.

By a 69-to-21%-margin, voters strongly back raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. The current federal wage floor is $7.25 an hour.

Asked to review seven issues being debated in the campaign and pick the one most important to them as they vote for federal offices including their congressional representatives, a third of voters selected economic issues. That was followed by security issues (24%), seniors' issues (14%), health care (11 percent), education (5%), and women's issues and energy (4% each).

Almost half of voters, 49%, say they'd support former President Bill Clinton advising his wife on economic policy, should she win the White House, while 34% oppose that idea.

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