The race is tightening
With just weeks until election day, President Trump appears to be gaining some momentum. Democratic nominee Joe Biden saw his lead shrink from 7.2 points to 5.8 points in the RealClearPolitics poll and from 7.3 points to a 6.7-point advantage with the FiveThirtyEight’s poll.
18th September 2020
Part of Trump’s momentum has stemmed from continued COVID-19 vaccine optimism, a downward trend in both coronavirus hospitalisations and deaths, and gradual improvement in the labour market.
Both candidates had town halls with much attention remaining on COVID-19. Trump is championing that the economy will perform better if he is re-elected and even pushed the Republicans to go for “much higher numbers” regarding the coronavirus economic relief bill. While lower taxes and less regulation normally translate into friendlier economic conditions, President Trump’s approach towards trade does not make this a clear advantage for him. A Biden presidency could mean globalisation will be revived and multi-nationals could thrive. Biden will seek to undo President Trump’s reforms on healthcare and have the country focus on climate change.
Biden’s campaign is trying to make the election a referendum on President Trump’s leadership throughout the pandemic. Trump’s campaign continues to focus on the economy, rising crime, and on efforts to thwart any efforts to defund the police. Recent polls show that Americans are not inspired by either candidate, for Trump an ABC News-Ipsos poll showed 65% of respondents disapprove of the President’s management of the coronavirus pandemic and 68% do not trust Trump’s rhetoric on the virus. Biden did not fare much better as 49% do not trust what he says about COVID-19.
Trump makes a push in Wisconsin
No one doubts the President will do everything he can to win votes in the key battleground states. On Thursday, people close to President Trump said he will announce $13 billion in new farm aid at the Wisconsin rally. Wisconsin is one of the key states he won in 2016 with 47.22% of the vote, edging Hillary Clinton’s 46.45% total, a slim 0.8 percentage points advantage. Biden currently has a 7-point lead in Wisconsin with the RealClearPolitics poll ending on September 10th. A separate NY Times Wisconsin poll showed 45% think Biden supports defunding the police, while 38% say he opposes it. That same poll asked if President Trump has encouraged or discouraged violence, with 52% saying he encouraged it while 42% said he discouraged it.
Bloomberg pledges up to $100 million for Biden’s Florida campaign
The state of Florida was the key to the 2000 election, and many believe it will be crucial this time. Biden holds a low-single digit lead in most polls, but his campaign just got the biggest ever one-off spend by a billionaire donor on a single state. Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and presidential candidate, committed to spend $100 million in Florida in the coming weeks to support Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy. Bloomberg’s action basically frees up all of Biden’s resources to focus on the other battleground states.
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President Trump continues his optimistic stance regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, targeting distribution this October or ‘a little bit later’. Some experts are targeting November or December for a vaccine approval, with its availability for the general public occurring in the second or third quarter of next year. President Trump would love for a vaccine to be approved before election day, as that might allow some voters to focus solely on economic policies and move beyond the handling of coronavirus.
Moderna has noted that their vaccine timetable could reach into 2021 for figuring out if it works. Pfizer has not outlined specific goals, but they did state results could be in as early as October.
The gloves are off, and the debates will be must-see TV. The first debate will be held on Tuesday, September 29th and will be moderated by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. The next debate will have Vice President Mike Pence debate Senator Kamala Harris on October 7th. Many Americans will pay close attention to how Harris performs as some insiders see Biden only serving one term if he is victorious. Trump and Biden will then have two more debates on October 15th and October 22nd.
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Senior Market Analyst, The Americas, OANDA
Ed has over two decades of financial market experience and began his career on Wall Street as a forex broker. Ed has worked with some of the top research and news departments in New York and frequently appears on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo Finance Live, Fox Business, AusbizTV, and Sky News.