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Bob Mason
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The Latest

There are just 20-days remaining until the 2020 U.S Presidential Election that will deliver the oldest U.S President in history.

Joe Biden would be 82 years of age should he win and serve out a 4-year term. At present, U.S President Trump has the accolade for being the oldest U.S President in office. Trump was 70 on Inauguration Day back in 2016.

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For the U.S voter, however, Biden’s age seems to be less of a concern with less than 3-weeks to go.

At the time of writing, Biden holds a decent lead in the polls and the markets are expecting a “Blue Wave”.

Trump’s poor showing at the 1st live televised debate may have led to the decision to pull out of the 2nd debate on Wednesday.

That leaves just one debate left on 22nd October.

Between now and then, however, there is plenty of activity that could swing or widen the gap further.

Later today, Biden and Trump are scheduled to hold separate events on ABC and NBC respectively.

For the reds and the U.S President, the isolated setting could prove to be another nail in the Republican coffin.

Unless some sort of dirt is dished up on political veteran Biden, it’s going to be hard to tarnish the name. This time around, the Democrats look to have gotten things right. Any skeletons in the closet would have come out at some point in the more than a 40-year political career.

For the incumbent, Donald Trump, losing court rulings in last-ditch attempts to reduce vote counts looks desperate. Losing rulings makes the U.S President look even more desperate.

So, the big question today will be whether Trump focuses on policy and his key successes or attacks Biden.

Trump and COVID-19

Trump’s 3-day recovery from COVID-19 and return to the campaign trail looks to have failed to deliver the sympathy vote.

Unfortunately for the reds, the contradictory messaging placed a dark shroud over the Republicans. Imposing economically debilitating containment measures only to then hold a super spreader event doesn’t look good.

In fact, Trump’s brush with COVID-19 further demonstrates the President’s mishandling of the pandemic.

That leaves the U.S President to contest postal vote counts and claim rigging in the event that he loses.

He will need to take care, however, as such a move may ultimately eat into his vote count…

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The Latest Polls

In spite of Trump getting and recovering from COVID-19, the COVID-19 scandal and the failure to deliver more stimulus leaves Trump well behind.

Based on the latest FT’s interactive Calculator and polling data, Biden has seen his lead hold steady.

The Challenger

The FT Poll Tracker projects Joe Biden to win the U.S Presidential Election with 279 Electoral College votes.

This is unchanged since a rise from 255 projected votes back on 23rd September.

Market concern over the possible political deadlock in the wake of the election has eased since the VP debate.

Trump has yet to succeed in winning court rulings to prevent mobile ballot collections and more.

Coupled with the projected votes, the markets are now looking to the Democrats to deliver further stimulus. With that, there has been a sense of calm in the U.S equity markets.

The marked shift in sentiment towards a Democratic victory has come in spite of the plan to repeal Trump’s tax laws.

The Polls in Detail

Looking at the breakdown of the votes, however, there has been some adjustment.

As at 14th October, the FT projects Biden to hold 194 solid votes, up from 190 votes in the previous week. Leaning votes fell by 4 to 85 votes, with New Hampshire becoming a “solid” state for Biden.

Key to the projections, however, are the swing states.

Of the 8 swing states currently being monitored, the FT tracker has Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin leaning in favor of Biden.

The remaining 4, these being Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, are currently projected as “Toss-up States”.

Incumbent Trump

For the U.S President, the FT projects a haul of 125 Electoral College votes. This is unchanged since a fall from 143 votes projected as at 23rd September.

While Biden has seen his solid vote count rise, the FT projects Trump to currently hold 83 solid votes. This is down from 86 solid votes from the previous week.

Electoral College votes leaning in Trump’s favor have risen by 3, with Montana falling out of the “solid” vote count.

The bad news for U.S President Trump, however, is that he does not have a single swing state in his favor.

The Toss-up States

We’ve not seen movement here in the last week. The number of states sitting on the fence has remained unchanged since 140 Electoral College Votes back on 23rd September.

4 of the states sitting on the fence are swing states and account for 71 Electoral College votes. And there’s Texas, with 38 Electoral College votes to also consider.

For Trump, however, even with all of the “Toss-Up” States voting in his favor, he would still fall short of 270.

That continues to, therefore, support the market’s expectation of a Blue Wave and for the democrats to control both houses.

As we saw back in 2016, however, a lot can change on Election Day. Trump does have a lot of work to do between now and the big day, however.

Alongside the FT’s projection of a Biden victory, FiveThirtyEight has Biden ahead in all but one of the swing states…

Without a Biden/Harris scandal, the U.S President will have his work cut out. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Democrats are holding back from agreeing with the Republicans on a COVID-19 Relief Bill.

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