Despite all the scandal-mongering of Democrats, Trump will win reelection in 2020, thanks to the strong economy and incumbent advantages, according to three different election modelers.
The economy invariably ranks among the top issues on the minds of voters in presidential elections. At the moment, it appears to offer President Trump a meaningful tailwind.
But how big is that tailwind? Fortunately, economists have worked hard to develop models for predicting election outcomes, and according to one of the best of these, it should be quite large.
One of the first — and perhaps still the best — of these models was created by Ray Fair, a professor at Yale. He found that the growth rates of gross domestic product and inflation have been the two most important economic predictors — but he also found that incumbency was also an important determinant of presidential election outcomes.
Ray Fair’s model has shown to be incredibly accurate. “In 2008, it predicted that Barack Obama would receive 53.1 percent of the popular vote; his share actually totaled 53.7 percent. In 2012, when Mr. Obama was running for re-election, its final estimate was a vote share of 51.8 percent, just two-tenths of one percent less than what the incumbent president received.” His models also predicted Trump’s victory in 2016, though his popular vote share was 5.5 points lower than what the model predicted. If that’s not enough to convince you that Trump heads into 2020 on solid ground, perhaps the fact that other models are also predicting a Trump victory might convince you.
Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has looked at 12 models, and Mr. Trump wins in all of them. Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College.
So the question for 2020 may well be whether Mr. Trump can overcome the majority of voters’ poor perception of him and use a good economy and incumbency to win re-election.
If there’s anything we learned from 2016 it’s that polls can’t always be trusted. For the majority of the last presidential election, a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton was predicted. Imagine the heads that will explode should Trump win reelection.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis