Biden, Harris, Trump, and the Polls… What’s the Latest?
Last week, Presidential hopeful Joe Biden had announced Kamala Harris as his running mate. This week, the Democrats announced Joe Biden as their man in the ring to face Trump and the Republicans.
Since the Democrat’s announcement, the news wires have seen Presidential Election chatter pickup.
U.S President Trump has struggled this year. It’s not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but also racial and social tensions that have hurt the Republican.
#Black Lives Matter and #Me Too are movements that have hit the U.S and beyond on his watch.
We’ve also had “The Wall”, a trade war with China and a number of other key trading partners and then there was Hong Kong, Russia, North Korea and let’s not forget Iran…
If things don’t materially change between now and Election Day, Trump’s only success may be the record highs hit by the S&P500 and the NASDAQ. Assuming they don’t tank between now and the big day.
When considering the fact that continuing jobless claims were sitting at 15.486m in the week ending 7th August, that number is going to have to see a marked decline.
The COVID-19 Numbers
Trump will blame just about everyone for the COVID-19 pandemic and he will continue to do so until Election Day.
At the time of writing, the total number of global COVID-19 cases stood at 22,610,749, with 791,670 related deaths.
The U.S accounted for 25% of the world’s total number of cases and 22% of the world’s total number of related deaths.
For Trump and the Republicans, it is dire reading and is a direct reflection of the President’s complete failure to protect U.S citizens.
Trump was keen to build a wall to stop border crossings from Mexico. He was not too eager to lock down the U.S, however, to prevent the infection rates seen through the 2nd quarter and into the current quarter.
How Trump and his spin doctors attempt to wriggle their way out of this one may well ultimately decide the outcome of the election…
On Wednesday, the FED’s gloomy tones will not have helped. Fortunately for Trump, he’s got a couple of months to get Powell back on the same page… Independence and all that.
The Latest Polls
According to the latest FT’s interactive Calculator and polling data, we’ve seen little movement of late.
As at 20th August, Joe Biden is projected to win 298 Electoral College votes come Election Day.
This was unchanged from 12th August and down from 308 votes back on 5th August.
While Biden has seen his vote count slip, it hasn’t been much better for the U.S President.
As at 20th August, Trump is projected to win 119 Electoral College votes. While unchanged from 12th August, this was down from 122 votes back on 5th August.
All in all, this means that the number of fence-sitters is on the rise. Some would argue that it favors Trump, others would argue that Trump has no chance. Trump hasn’t seen any daylight in the polls since the 1st quarter…
Perhaps to put it into perspective, you need to go further back in the polls.
Back on 19th July, Trump had 132 Electoral College votes versus Biden’s 308. So, there is enough daylight to suggest that Trump has no chance.
Looking more closely at the numbers, however, Biden has seen his number of solid votes decline. With a greater share falling into the “Leaning” category, Trump will be heartened…
Joe Biden has 190 solid votes, down from 194 solid votes back on 12th August. Trump has seen his solid vote count hold steady at 80.
If we look at the key U.S states that tend to be election barometers:
Missouri continues to lean in favor of Trump and the Republicans, with Kansas also leaning in Trump’s favor.
For Biden, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon remain solid blues, with Michigan and Pennsylvania leaning in favor of Biden. New Hampshire seems to be undecided, however, now falling from solid to leaning.
A number of key states remain on the fence. These include Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina.
The Road Ahead
For the U.S and electorate, the first thing that needs to be delivered is the COVID-19 stimulus package.
There’s a lot riding on the outcome of this. If the Republicans get their way, it will be considered a major victory. A Democrat outcome, however, could ultimately be curtains for Trump and the Republicans.
At a minimum, Mike Pence might need to fall on his sword and take the blame for the COVID-19 breakout… Let’s face it, Trump is a fighter and he’s not going to go out without a fight. A number of other political honchos may also be asked to kill their political careers for the cause. A career in the private sector, perhaps for the real estate mogul wouldn’t be a bad way to bow out.
All of this is conjecture, however. We will need to wait until the first debates to really get a sense of strategy.
Trump will undoubtedly claim that voters are voting for Harris and not Biden. We will also expect it to get a little dirty and heated…
For the Democrats, social unrest, COVID-19, the economic meltdown, and more are there to hit the President with. Not a bad laundry list.
The U.S Dollar
At the time of writing, the U.S Dollar Spot Index was up by 0.74% to 93.001.
Trump can take some credit for the recent weakness in the Dollar. After all, ruffling just about everyone’s feathers has its pitfalls.
Near-term, it will come down to the stimulus package and moves against China, however. The FED can make its moves but politics continues to lead the dance.
Expect this to now become more significant, particularly when economic data is on the lighter side.
The markets need catalysts and there is nothing better than a Democrat-Republican dog fight to rile the markets.