As the scandals and irate tweetstorms and legal troubles continue to unfold for President Donald Trump and his family, it’s almost impossible to imagine any kind of predictive election modeling that would make him the heavy favorite in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. But according to a piece in Politico, a number of well-respected researchers are saying just that: If the election were held today, and barring a complete economic collapse between now and election day 2020, their models show Trump running away with the victory.
The reason researchers say that Trump could bring in a much stronger showing than many people think possible is based on the strong U.S. economy, low unemployment numbers, low gas prices, and wages trending higher – all significant indicators when it comes to presidential elections. They take the old adage first coined in 1992 during former President Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid,” then they drill down into historic trends while adding in economic data like inflation rates, gas prices, unemployment rates, and wage growth to predict voting outcomes.
And keep in mind, the models in question, including that of TrendMacrolytics, correctly predicted Trump’s 2016 win when nearly every poll said otherwise.
“The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it,” said Donald Luskin of TrendMacrolytics. “I just don’t see how the blue wall could resist all that.”
The research is done by market strategists and economists and largely ignores polling and the daily back-and-forth of election year sniping between candidates, as well as the candidates’ personalities themselves, a huge part of what makes Trump such a lightning rod for both support and loathing.
And of course, in many other ways as well Trump is a wild card, given the possibility of a legal bombshell or scandalous revelation bringing down his presidency, a family member, or his company. But barring a legal disaster, or the aforementioned dramatic economic slump, even Yale economist Ray Fair, the researcher who pioneered this kind of work, agrees with TrendMacrolytics’ predictions.
“Even if you have a mediocre but not great economy — and that’s more or less consensus for between now and the election — that has a Trump victory and by a not-trivial margin,” said Fair, who also correctly predicted Trump’s 2016 win.
And both TrendMacrolytics’ Luskin, as well as Fair, are quick to note that even a serious economic slowdown might not be enough to prevent a second Trump presidential win, saying it would take a short, sharp shock to seriously rattle voters’ behavior.
“It would have to slow a lot to still be not pretty good,” said Luskin, reiterating that the pace of the change is what matters most.
Luskin also noted that his current model has Trump winning in a landslide in 2020 with 294 electoral votes.