It is early days for wanting to predict the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election based on financial market behavior, as the markets still have a lot of time to swing around before election day, which they continue to do. In 2016, I could derive the election outcome from financial market positioning when the stock market closed at 4pm on November 8, so still prior to any exit polls having been published. This year, the markets are so far out of their range of normal behavior (one need only mention the extreme and previously unseen discrepancy between the relative S&P 500 price level and the corresponding volatility index VIX) that at this point I am not sure a reasonable prediction will be possible at all. We shall see.
Anyway, pulling together the clues that I have picked up so far, it simply “feels” like 2016 once again.
To a logician, the reassuring thing to observe in recent days has been that, when driven to an extreme, illogic will be challenged even regardless of ideo-logical affiliation. Two examples that I, like presumably many people, found remarkable:
One may also be inclined to see parallels between publicly labeling those with opposing views as “deplorable” and publicly holding that “voters do not deserve to know” about (at least) one of the Democratic candidate’s actual intentions.
Then, of course, those forecasters that made predictions correctly reflecting the actual essential outcome in 2016, i.e. a Republican president in the White House, predict that the same will be the case after this election as well.1
Enthusiasm levels, as indicated by rally crowd sizes and FB like number development, seems to clearly favor, once again, the Republican candidate.
Finally, the “missing piece”: In 2016, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board published an article a week or so before the election warning voters that by “pulling the lever” for Hillary Clinton, they would assume “responsibility for all the blatant corruption that ensues” (or so, cited from memory). Now, the entire WSJ editorial board asks questions with regard to Joe Biden and China-related corruption.
So why might – and “might” it is for now – most pollsters get voters’ actual intentions so wrong once again? If it is true, as Trafalgar Group alleges, that only “one in five” or so Republican leaning voters is even willing to participate in a traditional, in-person poll, because the dominant media have created an atmosphere where it is “officially” considered undesirable to support the current US president, then even if one leaves aside the oft-alleged oversampling of Democrats, one would have to “fear” that those voters registered or identifying as “Republican” that do respond will be rather those that tend to be critical of the current president, further skewing the result toward Democrats. Under these circumstances, resorting to automated ways of polling and, especially, including the “neighbors” question (“Who do you think most of your neighbors will vote for”? in addition to “Who do you intend to vote for?”) that leaves respondents room to express their views without directly declaring themselves, as the Trafalgar Group does, seems like a logical thing to do.
Interestingly, yesterday’s IBD/TIPP poll result details included this: “50% think most of their neighbors will vote for Trump, and just 34% think their neighbors will mostly back Biden.” This difference has jumped from 12 to 16 points with the latest poll. But, then again, one might wonder whether the difference has by now possibly become too large to still be indicative in a similar way it may have been in 2016 when the “neighbors question” was far less widely discussed.
Sometimes, in hindsight, it can feel as if it may actually have been the “anecdotes”, rather than the statistics, that bore the decisive significance. If one sees a tweet such as this one from a rapper of color with 12.5 million followers, it may, in the end, have “said” more than a thousand polls._____
- https://news.stonybrook.edu/facultystaff/maverick-modeller-helmut-norpoth-predicts-another-win-for-trump/; The Pollster Who Nailed 2016 Says the Polls Are Wrong, Trump Will Win; the IBD/TIPP poll, also correct in 2016, now seems to have started to come around to this assessment, too: https://www.investors.com/news/trump-vs-biden-poll-race-tightens-like-2016-ibd-tipp-2020-presidential-poll/