According to three different economic models constructed by Moody’s Analytics, a President Trump reelection may become a reality.
Moody’s models measure presidential contests and predict whether the incumbent presidential candidate will win the popular vote in each state and the District of Columbia, and thus the necessary electoral college votes to win the election. This type of presidential election analysis began in the late 1970s by economist Ray Fair.
What sets apart the Moody’s Analytics models and their predecessors from similar efforts is a focus on regional economic growth to produce state-by-state projections of the Electoral College outcome.
This method of modeling has incorrectly predicted only one presidential election outcome since 1980. Interestingly enough, the single time it was inaccurate was in 2016 when it predicted a narrow victory for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The projections are based on how consumers feel about their financial situations, stock market gains achieved under Trump and the prospects for unemployment. Three different models found that Trump, who won by a 304-227 margin in the Electoral College in 2016, could easily surpass those results in 2020. Trump has the potential of winning either 289, 332 or 351 votes in the Electoral College over his eventual Democratic opponent.
Of the three models, Trump fairs best under the “pocketbook” measure, the most economically driven of the three, which gauges how people feel about their finances. The welfare of the economy is Trump’s ticket to reelection says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and co-author of the paper. “If the economy a year from now is the same as it is today, or roughly so, then the power of incumbency is strong and Trump’s election odds are very good, particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic and don’t get out to vote …It's about turnout.”
The key to Democrats walking away from the 2020 election with a victory is how many voters they can inspire to head to the ballot. While this report is very much in Trump’s favor, it also concludes that a historically high turnout would swing the favor in the Democrat’s direction, leading them to a narrow Democratic victory.
However, “If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks,” the report continues, “the president would steamroll the competition. This shows the importance that prevailing economic sentiment at the household level could hold in the next election.”
The Trump administration will no-doubt take this Moody’s Analytics report as a welcome break in bad news. Trump, who is aware that the country’s economy will be either his saving grace or his downfall, has been using his economic achievements to attack the Democrats in the midst of a mounting impeachment investigation.
Last week, Trump continued to tweet placating (and inaccurate) distractions: “Only 25 percent want the President Impeached, which is pretty low considering the volume of Fake News coverage, but pretty high considering the fact that I did NOTHING wrong. It is all just a continuation of the greatest Scam and Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!” which he followed up with the statement “Impeached for what, having created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country, building our strongest ever Military, Cutting Taxes too much?”
While these models seem promising for Trump, there is no question that there are many passionate Democratic voters headed to the voting booth next year. Only time—and the economy—will tell who will enter (or re-enter) office in 2021.