In this week’s edition of The Political Edge, we highlight an op-ed from The New York Times that reviews several forecasting models that have good news for President Trump’s reelection chances. We also take a look at the rising importance of the millennial voter and what impact their current policy preferences may have on future elections.
Forecasters Predict a 2020 Victory for President Trump
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Steven Rattner, a counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration and a Wall Street executive, highlighted notes from three different election forecasters, who all essentially had the same assessment for 2020: President Trump has a strong chance of winning reelection.
Ray Fair, a professor at Yale, created a forecasting model that uses the growth rates of gross domestic product and inflation as key indicators. According to Fair’s model, these two items in addition to incumbency are some of the most important determinants of presidential election outcomes. Rattner writes this about Fair’s model:
“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. (For Mr. Obama in 2012, the power of incumbency helped offset a still-recovering economy.)”
With the economy in its present state, President Trump’s vote share in 2020 could be as high as 56.1 percent, according to Fair’s model.
But Fair’s is not the only analysis that bodes well for the president. Rattner notes that, “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.”
With over a year to go until the 2020 election, it’s perhaps too early for the Trump campaign to conclusively call the election in their favor. However, should the economy keep humming as it is, his chances of reelection appear favorable.
The Future Impact of Millennial Voters
Millennial voters, those born between 1981 and 1996, are a key voting block that Republicans and Democrats alike acknowledge they will need to win over in the years ahead as they overtake the influence held by baby boomers and the “Silent Generation.” Heading into 2020, party strategists are expected to pay close attention to how millennials vote as they attempt to make long term messaging plans. Last week, The Washington Post’s David Byler provided some key insights into this key age group.
- “As of 2017, 59 percent of millennial registered voters either were Democrats or leaned toward the Democratic Party, and only 32 percentwere Republicans or Republican-leaners, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s the biggest break in favor of Democrats among registered voters of any generation: Both Gen X and baby boomers are more evenly split, while the Silent Generation is majority Republican or Republican-leaning.”
- “In 2016, voters age 18 to 29 (a group that overlaps with but isn’t identical to millennials) voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 55-to-32 percent margin — the only age group to register a double-digit win margin for Clinton.”
Byler’s article also included several polling tidbits about what issues are important to millennials.
- “In a recent Economist/YouGov poll, 19 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 said ‘the environment’ was the most important issue;”
- “Health care is as important to young voters as it is to others: 1 in 5 18-to-29-year-olds say it’s the most important issue, as do 1 in 5 30-to-44-year-olds, and 19 percent of 45-to-64-year-olds.”
- “Immigration is less important to younger Americans — 8 percent of adults age 18 to 29 say it’s the most important issue, while 22 percent of those age 65 and older say it is.”
Byler notes, however, that “the comparisons here are all inexact — most polls break out age groups from 18 to 29, and millennials are roughly 23 to 38 years old.” While it may appear that millennials are trending toward Democratic policies, it is still unclear if they will continue to hold those beliefs through their 30s and into their 40s.