Trump will lose re-election bid due to coronavirus and requires an 'economic miracle' to win, predicts model

Trump will lose re-election bid due to coronavirus and requires an 'economic miracle' to win, predicts model
(Getty Images)

A new election model released by Oxford University has predicted that Donald Trump will lose the November 2020 presidential elections by a landslide because of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The national election model released by Oxford Economics this past Wednesday, May 20, said Trump would not be re-elected due to rising unemployment and inflation and predicted he would win just 34 percent of the popular vote.

That would make for quite the drop from not just his 2016 victory when he won 46.1 percent of the popular vote, but also from Oxford's previous prediction that he could win 55 percent in the upcoming elections. The model's prediction was based on the ongoing coronavirus recession that has seen more than 20.5 million jobs lost in April and the unemployment rate rise to 13 percent, as well as household income drop by six percent.

"The economy would still be in a worse state than at the depth of the Great Depression," the report, obtained by CNN, read. "An unemployment rate above its global financial crisis peak, household income nearly 6% below its pre-virus levels and transitory deflation will make the economy a nearly insurmountable obstacle for Trump come November." It also said the president would suffer a "historic" defeat in the elections and that it would "take nothing short of an economic miracle for pocketbooks to favor Trump."

The prediction is not all too surprising considering defeat is common for presidents running for reelection during an economic crisis. If its prediction about Trump comes true, it would be the worst performance for an incumbent in a century. It's not just the popular vote that Trump is set to lose either. A separate state-based election model by Oxford Economics that incorporates local economic trends and gasoline prices predicts will suffer a hefty defeat in the electoral college by a margin of 328 to 201 — he had defeated Hillary Clinton by 304 to 227 in 2016.

President Donald Trump tosses a hat into the crowd as he arrives for a 'Make America Great Again' campaign rally at Williamsport Regional Airport, May 20, 2019, in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

The defeat is predicated on the forecast that seven battleground states — Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina — will flip to the Democrats. "We would expect these states to experience significant economic contractions and traumatic job losses that would likely swing pocketbook vote," the report said. The model is known for its accuracy and has been correct in its predictions since 1948, with exception to the elections in 1968, 1972 and 1976. However, experts warned that such models have no track record of predicting elections during a pandemic.

"Traditional models work in normal times. But we're not in normal times right now," said Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments. Valliere said that if the election was held today, Democratic candidate Joe Biden would likely win, but that the next six months still gave Trump ample time to change his campaign strategy and blame the pandemic on China. 

The Oxford model doesn't account for potential shifts in the pandemic either and, ultimately, the election could be a referendum on Trump's handling of the crisis. "If new infections really pick up, people will conclude Trump opened the country too soon," Valliere said. "But if new infections drop, Trump will get some credit."

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