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Aug. 22, 2016, 8:48 a.m. EDT

To professional economists, Trump isn’t even the second best presidential candidate in the race

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

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Economists say Gary Johnson, left, is their No. 2 presidential candidate in terms of management of the economy.

Professional economists have such low regard for the Republican presidential candidate that a survey found Donald Trump wasn’t even considered the second best candidate in the race.

A survey of 414 economists by the National Association for Business Economics released Monday found 55% thought Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would do the best job of managing the economy. The Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, narrowly beat out Trump, 15% to 14%, with another 15% saying they don’t know.

Sixty-two percent of professional economists say uncertainty about the election is holding back growth.

To be fair to Trump, these economists hold views that he’d find distasteful. On immigration, 80% say the federal government should remove restrictions on high-skill immigration. A majority of economists, 61%, say there should be increased immigration more generally.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, 47% believe the U.S. should adopt the trade pact in its current form, and another 30% say the U.S. should seek more favorable terms.

Trump has generally been resistant to the idea of welcoming more high-skilled immigrants — though at one debate he said he was for it. Trump has previously indicated a desire for a deportation force tackling the 11 million who live in the country illegally.

Trump has been vocally opposed to the TPP pact, and Clinton also now says she opposes the pact she helped negotiate when she was secretary of state under President Obama.

The professional economists say uncertainty about the election is holding back growth, with 62% saying so.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's Washington bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter @MKTWgoldstein.

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