Time to Make a Prediction: Biden Wins, Narrowly
Author: Greg Valliere
October 1, 2020
BARRING AN EPIC GAFFE from Joe Biden (which is always possible), the Republicans are headed for an election defeat, probably losing the Senate, as Biden wins easily in the popular vote and narrowly in the Electoral College.
THE GLOOM AMONG REPUBLICANS was pervasive yesterday, from Fox News to Capitol Hill. Trump allies on Fox conceded that the president was angry and belligerent in the debate Tuesday night, and his congressional supporters expressed dismay over Trump’s refusal to denounce White supremacists.
COULD TRUMP COME BACK? Sure — he has great energy and controls the news cycle — but most voters have already made up their minds. Could the polltakers be wrong? Yes, their methodology still seems shaky on voter turnout. Could there be a disputed election? At the least, it could take days to declare a winner. So this is a close call, no question.
BIDEN WAS MERELY ADEQUATE in the debate, but the 77-year-old former Vice President is now the clear favorite. Biden is hardly a shoo-in because in the next four weeks he faces withering attacks (especially on the internet) not just on his agenda but on his health and mental acuity. It’s already begun.
BUT THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT TRUMP, who faces two huge obstacles: a perception that he handled the pandemic poorly, and a widespread voter belief that he’s a nasty and angry man; the debate reinforced that impression.
THE NEXT TWO DEBATES COULD BE MORE CIVIL but the damage has been done, and viewership surely will fall. Even if Trump tones down his furious attacks, this election is already underway; absentee voting has soared this week.
WE DO THE MATH every few days, and it appears increasingly likely that Biden will win at least the bare minimum of 270 electoral votes, but he needs to capture
Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where he has modest leads now; that would give him a clear path to the White House. Biden doesn’t need to win Florida, Georgia, North Carolina or Ohio — although he has a chance, surprisingly, in all of those states.
WE HEAR FROM MANY OF YOU who point out that yard signs for Trump are ubiquitous in states like Michigan, and we acknowledge the parallels to Hillary Clinton’s collapse in 2016. But the decisive factor, in our opinion, is the likelihood that Biden will exceed Clinton’s margins among women, many of whom cannot stand Trump and are highly motivated to vote.
THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, which ended the third quarter with still another rally,
will have to start factoring in a “Blue Wave,” not just a Biden win. A liberal House and a 50-50 Senate tie, giving Democrats control, looks increasingly likely. The Democrats seem headed for a net pickup of 3 GOP seats but that number could go higher if Biden wins comfortably.
THE MARKETS ARE IN THEIR OWN UNIVERSE, stoked by the likelihood of ultra-low interest rates for years to come. But there’s no question that higher taxes are coming if Biden wins, along with a less favorable climate for several sectors such as fossil fuels, defense, financial services, etc.
BUT BIDEN WOULD GET THE STALLED STIMULUS BILL enacted, a booster shot for the economy, and he would bring far more stability and predictability to Washington policymaking. And he would tone down the trade tariffs, to the relief of corporations here and abroad.
IT’S OCTOBER 1, SO WE HAVE TO MAKE A CALL: Biden wins, narrowly, in an election that may not be decided until Christmas Eve.
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