Incumbent President Donald Trump is well on his way to an easy victory in the 2020 election according to three separate economic models compiled by Moody’s Analytics.
As long as nothing crazy happens, like a recession or a stock market crash of 12% or more, Trump’s Electoral College numbers could be higher than his 304-227 victory over Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 but lost due to electoral votes.
Moody’s projections are based on three big economic variables: consumer confidence, stock market gains and unemployment, which is currently at a low not seen in 50 years. If those three factors hold up, Trump is a heavy favorite to win another four years in office.
Moody’s projections go back to 1980 and they’ve only been wrong once — in 2016, when it had Clinton eking out a win over Trump.
“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,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said. “It’s about turnout.”
Three of the models show Trump winning at least 289 electoral votes if there is average turnout. The higher the turnout, the lower his chances are to win reelection.
Under the three different models, Trump performs best under the “pocketbook” measure, or how people feel about their finances. In the pocketbook measure, Trump wins in a landslide, 351 electoral votes to 187 for a generic Democratic candidate.
Under the stock market model, Trump wins 289-249, and 332-206 under the unemployment model. The average across all three models have Trump winning 332-206.
“Our ‘pocketbook’ model is the most economically driven of the three,” the report reads. “If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition. This shows the importance that prevailing economic sentiment at the household level could hold in the next election.
“Record turnout is vital to a Democratic victory.”
The results are a bit surprising considering the president’s low approval ratings throughout his tenure. Trump’s approval is currently at about 41.8% and his disapproval rating is 54.1%, a minus-12.3% score, under the FiveThirtyEight model that is an aggregate of all major polling services.
Trump has hovered right around 40% approval for the entirety of his first term, rarely moving above or below, which helps show what his benchmark for support is and how he’ll do when election time comes.
According to Zandi, the entire race will come down to a few counties in Pennsylvania, 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden’s home state, that voted Democrat for five straight presidential elections but then flipped to Trump in 2016.
The study notes one county in particular, Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, and said it “is the single-most important county, no kidding, in the entire election.”
It is a longtime Democratic stronghold that Trump flipped 51.8% to 46.8%. And Trump doesn’t even have to win the county to win the election, he just needs strong turnout there.
Click here to read Moody’s 2020 Presidential Election Model in full.