Maybe it's the cheaper oil or that they're gaining clients from the wirehouses, but either way a study released today by Schwab Institutional found that registered investment advisors are a more optimistic lot these days.

According to the more than 1,000 RIAs who responded to Schwab's semi-annual Independent Advisor Outlook Study in July, 58% expect the S&P 500 to rise by the end of the year versus 46% who thought so in January. And 57% believe energy prices will likely decrease in the next six months, up from 42% in January.

More important, 85% of advisors said they attracted new clients from full-service brokerage firms, and the two top reasons were that their new clients wanted more personal advice (66%) and they had lost trust in their prior firm (57%).

In addition, 84% of advisors surveyed said they gained new clients who had been managing their own investments.

When it comes to investing, advisors identified the top three vehicles over the next six months as exchange-traded funds, real estate investment trusts and mutual funds that use hedging strategies.

And as for the upcoming election, although slightly less than half (47%) of advisors identified themselves as Republican, 62% of those surveyed believe Sen. John McCain will have the most positive impact on their clients' portfolios.