In our latest Election Pulse, our Head of Equities Stephen Dover is joined by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income CIO Sonal Desai and Gallup’s Jonathan Rothwell to discuss survey findings on COVID-19 and its impact on the consumer. They discuss attitudes about vaccines, mask-wearing, and where they think the research may lead them post-election.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation today:

“From my perspective, markets have run far in advance of the real economy….The hope is that the real economy catches up with markets and importantly, with asset prices. So far, what we are seeing is if we continue reopening, of course there are going to be steps back, as we are seeing right now. But as we reopen, we can still avoid permanent damage to the real economy.” – Sonal Desai

“People who are more confident in their ability to protect themselves when they’re out in public from the virus are much more likely to be booking hotel reservations, to be going out to restaurants, to be flying, to be going to the barber shop or the beauty salon…We’ve seen big partisan differences in people’s willingness to go out and engage in these kinds of behaviors, as well as the kinds of precautions they’ve taken.” – Jonathan Rothwell

“One of the fascinating things we found in the fourth [Franklin-Templeton Gallup] survey was….great financial confidence amongst those who had financial advisors. And that is something which is encouraging because clearly people who hand their finances to a financial advisor seem to feel much more confident about their ability to navigate the financial turbulence.” – Sonal Desai

“People’s attitudes have changed over the course of the pandemic. It used to be far more of a partisan gap in mask use and acceptance. And now it’s really shrunk.” – Jonathan Rothwell

“It seems…even with a vaccine, there will be enough people with enough concerns that they’re not going to be rushing out to get the vaccine, even if it’s a university available early on…While there remain concerns, there also is a gradual return to some form of normalcy, which is not completely tied up to a factor such as the vaccine.” – Sonal Desai