Economists predict that the chances of winning the presidential election in November have “firmly” changed in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
In a report released Wednesday, analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said the election prospects have changed dramatically in recent months, noting that although they will be held in close contact, “the odds have now changed dramatically in Mr. Biden’s favor. “
At the beginning of this year, economists say Trump seems set to win another presidential term thanks to a thriving economy, low unemployment and riots in the Democratic Party. However, they said that “all this has changed” against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis that followed the recession and the most serious wave of civil unrest over the past half century.
“Trump’s reaction to both crises has even more laid bare his style of disagreement, which is unpopular among independent voters, which will be crucial in determining election results,” the report says.
“Meanwhile, democratic voters rallied for their candidate, Joe Biden.”
Although Trump still benefited from a strong base, which analysts estimate is between 40 and 44% of the population, EIU said the president will need to attract voters outside of this main base to defeat Biden in November.
“Trump’s campaign has lost most of its previous benefits in recent months,” analysts say. “As a result, we do not expect him to be able to secure enough support from hesitant voters to follow the same narrow path to victory in 2020.”
According to the EIU, the most important event for Trump’s campaign ahead of the election will be the state of the US economy.
“Earlier, hopes that the economy would recover sharply in the third quarter of 2020, as measures to block the coronavirus have now been canceled, seem far-fetched,” the economists report said. They suggested that consumer spending would not recover to pre-pandemic levels until the Covid-19 vaccine became widely available, which they predicted to happen no earlier than at least until the end of 2021.
“Weak demand will continue to affect business and is likely to keep unemployment at around 10% during the election,” they predicted.
The report notes that the fiscal stimulus is sheltering many households from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, which could “inflate the already impressive Trump poll figures.” But economists added that if emergency assistance was not extended in July, many Americans would be more financially unstable by the end of the year.
“This does not bode well for Trump, because the economic conditions surrounding the election are a strong determinant of voter behavior,” they said, although they added that this alone was not enough to prevent the re-election of the president.
Earlier this month CNBC / Change Research Survey found that Biden took the lead over Trump in six vacillating states, with a Democratic candidate leading with margins of 48% to 45% in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Trump previously led each version of the survey, starting in March.
In addition to economic indicators, the EIU noted that there is a “series of wildcards” that will influence the outcome of the presidential race.
The EIU said protests in the US will have important consequences, predicting that excessive use of force against demonstrators will result in voters pushing off from the Trump administration.
“Trump’s attention to law enforcement will resonate with his main supporters. However, his disdain for protests mobilizes black voters and may cause dissatisfaction among voters from the suburbs, which is likely to increase voter turnout in Biden due to these two key demographic factors, ”economists say.
According to the EIU, further deterioration in US-China relations could affect the course of the election. If the trade agreement between the two countries crashed, American farmers, whose votes are “critical” for Trump, would be hurt.
Choosing Biden as a partner is also crucial, the report said, as analysts expect that choosing a progressive democrat will make it easier for him to defeat former Bernie Sanders supporters and, in turn, strengthen his main support base.
The Covid-19 effect means that it is unclear whether social distance measures will suppress the turnout in November, the EIU added. Since both candidates depended on the number of voters and independent voters, maximum turnout was crucial and mailing ballots would become vital. Analysts warned that any malfunction in the mailing list system could lead to a challenge to the election results and lead to a “dirty transition.”