Donald Trump is the 2020 Underdog; Electoral Math Turns Against Him
Author: Greg Valliere
May 21, 2019
A MAJOR SHIFT: President Trump still has a plausible path to re-election, but as of now the Electoral College math has turned significantly — and suddenly he’s the underdog to Joe Biden in 2020. The major reason why? A dramatic plunge in Trump’s support among females.
MUCH OBVIOUSLY WILL CHANGE between now and November 3, 2020, and Trump is a ruthless campaigner who will skillfully demonize Biden and the Democrats, labeling the party as socialist. Las Vegas odds-makers still make Trump the favorite, but there’s no denying that his prospects have slipped in the upper Midwest, where several states propelled him to the presidency in 2020.
WE’RE MORE THAN A YEAR AWAY from making a final prediction on the race; for now, we’re simply asserting that Trump is no longer the favorite. Some reasons:
THE MATH IS COMPELLING: Trump won 304 electoral votes in 2016 (with two Texas abstentions), but is trailing in recent polls in Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Michigan (16), which would bring him down to 270 (270 are needed to win). Wisconsin (10), which Hillary Clinton lost without showing up, is a tossup. If he loses all three, Trump’s total could fall to 260 votes, assuming the rest of the map stays roughly the same (Iowa and other states in the farm belt are in a recession and look shaky for the GOP). Significantly, it now appears that Trump could win Ohio (18) and still narrowly lose the election.
FEMALE VOTERS: Their antipathy toward Trump is remarkable. Recent polls show women oppose him by 59-32, while his 52% total from white women in 2016 has fallen to a 55-38 deficit. Suburban and college-educated women overwhelmingly oppose him; even non-college educated women now oppose him. Most Republican politicians have distanced themselves from extreme anti-abortion bills in Alabama and elsewhere, but re-litigating Roe vs. Wade hardly helps Trump with these pivotal voters.
ISSUES TO WATCH: Health care is the top concern, and the Republicans still don’t have a plan. Other issues such as climate change have actually eclipsed the economy, where Trump gets credit, but it’s not the top issue. Perhaps the ongoing trade uncertainty will begin to erode his support on the economy; Trump proclaims that he’s a great negotiator, but a long trade war with China could erode that boast.
THE INVESTIGATIONS: When we’re outside of the Beltway, people tell us they don’t care about the Mueller report or the ongoing congressional investigations. We get that, but there’s a lurking issue that could do great damage to his candidacy: increasing signs that his companies engaged in money laundering. Trump will insist that he personally had nothing to do with it, and we still don’t anticipate impeachment and conviction. These endless investigations and litigation could backfire on the Democrats — or, they hope, “Trump fatigue” could take hold.
MUCH DEPENDS ON WHO TRUMP RUNS AGAINST: Biden is the most formidable Democrat, but he’s gaffe-prone and virtually unknown among young people; he’s the shaky front-runner despite his comfortable lead. The early polls are eye-opening — he leads Trump by about 10 points nationwide, and that’s enough to persuade us that Biden is the front runner to become president.
MARKET IMPLICATIONS: We think the markets can live with Biden, although he will have to wrestle with persistent pressure from his progressive wing on issues such as health care and climate change. As usual, the Senate may be the firewall — blocking many left wing initiatives with a requirement that 60 votes are necessary to pass major bills (unless there’s a risky “nuclear option”). Regulatory policy could flip back from laissez faire to activist. It’s too early to make sweeping predictions about a Biden presidency, but it’s not too early to conclude that Trump is in serious trouble.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2021 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.