Wall Street has seen a number of recent record highs during 2019, but the latest Financial Times/Peter G Peterson Foundation poll shows that 61% of Americans say this year’s rally has had little or no impact on their personal finances.
A story on Financial Times accompanying the poll questions whether one of the strongest bull markets in a decade will help President Donald Trump get reelected — as it most certainly should — when so many are missing out on all of the gains.
The other 39% of Americans polled said this year’s market performance had a “very strong” or “somewhat strong” impact on their financial well-being.
According to the survey, most of Americans aren’t aware of stock market movements at all, with just 40% of respondents correctly stating that the market has risen this year. Another 42% said the market was “about the same” as when the year started (ouch), and the final 18% said it had actually lost value (double ouch).
In fact, all three major indexes, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq, hit record highs just last month, several times each. At Wednesday’s closing bell, the S&P 500 was up nearly 25% on the year, which will be its best yearly showing since 2013 if things continue the way they have to end the year.
Trump of course frequently points to a strong economy and big stock market gains as evidence of his policies working wonders for the American people and their wallets.
New Stock Market Record today, AGAIN. Congratulations USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2019
Another new Stock Market Record. Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2019
The FT story also notes a quote from a rally this summer when Trump told the crowd that Americans have “no choice” but to vote for him because if he loses “your 401(k)s … down the tubes, everything’s going to be down the tubes. So whether you love me or hate me, you got to vote for me.”
The survey is “part of the monthly FT-Peterson U.S. Economic Monitor” that tracks voter sentiment in regard to the economy in the run-up to the 2020 election, and aims to follow whether voters feel better or worse off since Trump’s inauguration.
The most recent poll was conducted right before Thanksgiving, and largely mirrored the same poll’s findings from last month.
In addition to active traders, most Americans’ exposure to the stock market is largely through their retirement plans, such as a 401(k). According to the Federal Reserve, about half of U.S. households own stocks directly or indirectly, but only 14% of households trade stocks outright.
The poll also notes a partisan split:
- 58% of Republicans know the markets have risen this year compared to just 25% of Democrats
- 45% of Republicans said the markets had a “very strong” or “somewhat strong” effect on their finances compared to 35% of Democrats
The poll also notes an income split:
- 60% of respondents earning more than $100,000 a year know the market has risen this year, while just 29% of voters earning less than $50,000 also know this
- People earning more than $100,000 were significantly more likely to say the market had a “very strong” or “somewhat strong” impact on their finances
Also of note
The latest poll also shows that 31% of Americans feel they are now worse off financially than when Trump took office (sour grapes?). Another 37% said there has been no change in their financial situation, and 32% said they are better off.
The story notes that the poll results are virtually unchanged from the previous month.
“The most recent FT-Peterson Poll was conducted online by Global Strategy Group, a Democratic polling group, and North Star Opinion Research, a Republican group, between November 19 and November 24,” the story says. “It reflects the opinions of 1,010 likely voters nationwide, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
“The Peterson Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation focused on America’s fiscal challenges.”
Editor’s note: Take our poll, which is exactly the same as the FT poll, and share your thoughts on the findings below.