Wall Street Hopes for Romney, but Expects Obama to Win

Wall Street appears to be planning for a victory by President Obama but hoping for one by Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
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Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

In an unscientific poll, 46 percent of respondents to the September CNBC Fed Survey said they expect President Obama to win reelection.

Only 24 percent believe Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney will get the job. But asked who they preferred, 53 percent of respondents picked Romney and just 18 percent chose Obama. For both categories, a third said they didn't know or were unsure.

(Read More: Author Michael Lewis' Six Months With President Obama.)

"Like Europe, when it comes to our biggest needs we have tended to kick the can down the road," said Robert Brusque of Fact and Opinion Economics, who favors Romney. "We need someone to kick us in the can to get us going in the right direction on a different road."

The survey is used primarily to gauge both sentiment for future actions by the Federal Reserve and the outlook for economy and markets. It had 58 respondents, including top money managers, strategists and economists.

But the latest campaign contribution numbers back up the survey. Through August 21, data from OpenSecrets.org show 77 percent of campaign contributions from the securities and investment industries going to the GOP. In 2008, Democrats beat out Republicans in Wall Street fundraising 58 percent to 42 percent.

Only 40 percent of respondents to the CNBC Fed Survey believe that Americans are better off than they were four years ago. 49 percent said Americans were not better off and 6 percent said the situation is about the same. (Read More:What Wall Street Is Saying About Fed and Economy.)

David Resler of Nomura said the question on whether Americans are better off is somewhat complicated when analyzed through the data. "By many key objective metrics — employment, unemployment, real disposable personal income, household net worth — people are worse off than four years ago," he said. But overall economic output, adjusted for inflation, he said, is 1.9 percent higher than four years ago. (Read More: Markets Doubt More Fed Easing Will Boost Hiring.)

Scott Wren of Wells Fargo Advisors, who both supports Romney and believes he will win, said the recovery will require "clarity out of Washington (yes, we unfortunately need to count on our elected officials) on taxes, regulation, and the cost to hire an additional employee before businesses are confident enough to invest for the future. They can't make strategic decisions in this environment."

The fiscal cliff was chosen as the number one threat to the US recovery by 39 percent of respondents, making it the leading concern for the second month in a row. Three-quarters or respondents believe it is already hurting the US economy. (Read More: Leaders Remain Far Apart on 'Fiscal Cliff' Fix.)

On a separate issue, 80 percent of respondents said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would not resign if Mitt Romney is elected president. Romney has joined other Republicans in criticizing Fed policy and the chairman. (ReadMore: Consider Keeping Bernanke, Top Romney Adviser Says.)

-By CNBC's Steve Liesman