FSI Poll: Advisors Weigh in on Presidential Race, Economy & More

August 14, 2012

Stagnant Economy and Increased Taxes Predicted

The Financial Services Institute (FSI) today released the results of a poll of its independent financial advisor members that focuses on the November elections, the economy, taxes and other issues impacting their Main Street clients. This poll expanded on the poll FSI conducted in February with nearly 2,400 financial advisors completing the survey.

In the presidential race, former Governor Mitt Romney is the heavily favored candidate among independent financial advisors, with 81% of respondents citing the former Massachusetts governor as their candidate of choice. However, it is more evenly split when asked who they believe will actually win in November, with 1,104 advisors believing Obama will have a second term in office and 1,244 suspect Romney will win.

The economy is the top issue influencing the financial advisors’ vote for president. They also predict that Republicans will take control of the Senate, capital gains taxes will increase, equities and the economy will hold steady for the remainder of 2012 and that the Department of Labor should not redefine the definition of fiduciary.

“Independent financial advisors have a unique viewpoint of the intersection of politics and the economy,” said FSI President & CEO Dale Brown. “Advisors work closely with Main Street clients every day, helping them secure their financial futures by planning for what is expected down the road. This poll shows the economy and taxes are weighing heavily on the minds of advisors and in the planning they do for their clients. They are bracing themselves and their clients for a stagnant economy and an increase in capital gains taxes.”

Survey Results

Question 1: Who do you believe will win the race for the White House this fall, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney (not who do you want to win, but who will end up winning)?

Barack Obama    1,104    47 %
Mitt Romney    1,244    53 %    

Question 2: If the election was held today, would you vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

August 2012

February 2012

Barack Obama     365    15 %    536    19 %
Mitt Romney    1,907        81 %    2,356        81 %
Other     88    4 %    N/A    N/A

Question 3: What is the top issue affecting your vote for president this year?

Economy/Jobs    1,501        63 %    
Foreign Affairs       17      1 %
Healthcare      177      7 %
National Defense       15      1 %
National Debt      492    21 %
Other      171      7 %

Question 4: Will the U.S. Senate stay in Democrat control or shift to Republican control?

August 2012

February 2012

Democrat      699    30 %      901    31 %
Republican    1,649        70 %         1,996        69 %

Question 5: Do you believe capital gains taxes are heading up or down?

August 2012

February 2012

Up      2,221        95 %      2,605        91 % 
Down      122      5 %       273     9 %

Question 6: Do you believe the of 2012 will be a strong, neutral or weak year for equities performance?

August 2012

February 2012

Strong      473    20 %    1,047    36 %
Neutral    1,514        64 %        1,621        56 %
Weak      383    16 %      252      9 %

Question 7: Do you believe the Department of Labor should redefine the definition of fiduciary for financial advisors effectively banning the earning of commissions on IRA advice?

August 2012

February 2012

Yes     253    11 %     798    28 %
No    2,106        89 %         2,078        72 %

Question 8: Will the U.S. economy recover in 2012, stay flat or worsen?

August 2012

February 2012

Recover     377    16 %    1,126    38 %
Stay Flat    1,634        69 %        1,618        55 %
Worsen     361    15 %     181      6 %

Question 9: Does your future business model include a greater movement to fees versus commissions?

Yes    1,724        73 %
No       638    27 %    

The survey was conducted in-house by FSI. All 35,000 FSI financial advisor members were emailed a link to the survey through a secure database and completed the questionnaire online. 2,376 financial advisors completed the poll which was conducted August 8-10.