Dem president best for economy: CNBC survey respondents in reversal

For the first time this election cycle, the CNBC Fed Survey shows respondents now believe it's best for the economy if a Democrat wins the presidential election.

In a sharp reversal from last month, the 39 participants in the survey conducted last week, including economists, fund managers and strategists, now say by a 47-37 percent margin that the best outcome for the economy is if Hillary Clinton wins the White House. CNBC has asked the question since March and a Republican has usually led by more than 20 points.

Prior polls asked only if it would be best for the economy if a Democrat or Republican wins. The most recent poll named the candidates.

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The survey suggests how recent events in the fast-moving and bitter campaign can sway the outlook radically on Wall Street. The July survey came after the Republican National Convention and showed gains for GOP nominee Donald Trump from previous surveys. The current poll is the first since a disastrous week for Trump earlier this month when several of his statements garnered bipartisan criticism and some national polls showed Clinton with a double-digit lead.

Support for Clinton or a Democrat among Wall Street participants on the economy is remarkable. In a September 2012 survey, respondents believed by a 2-1 margin that President Barack Obama would win but wanted Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a 5-2 margin. The current survey appears to reflect widespread unease with a Trump presidency echoed repeatedly by Democrats and establishment Republicans alike.

Respondents are virtually certain Clinton will win — 84 percent, up 30 points from July, compared with just 11 percent for Trump, down 15 points.

The near certainty that Clinton will win among respondents comes with less concern about the economic effects of the presidential election. In the prior survey, 60 percent of respondents had said the election itself was negative for the outlook. That percentage has now declined to just 42 percent.

Respondents now are just about evenly split on which candidate has the best economic policy. Trump continues to lead 42 percent to 40 percent, but he lost 2 points from the previous survey and Clinton gained 8. Her additional support came mostly from the category of those who said they didn't know or were unsure.

Clinton widened her lead on the question of who is best for the stock market. In the current survey, 47 percent of respondents say her presidency would be best for equities, up 10 points, compared with 32 percent for Trump, up a point. Again, additional Clinton support came from the "don't know/unsure" category.

The overall support for Clinton comes while respondents are mixed on which candidate has the best policy on individual issues. Trump's tax plan is strongly favored as are his policies on reducing business regulations. But Clinton has the edge on trade policy and on the budget deficit while the two are tied on the job creation.