History Indicates That Joe Biden Will Win Big In November
I predict that Biden will win by a margin similar to Obama’s win in 2008. Obama won the popular vote 53% to 46% and won the electoral college by a margin of 365 to 173. We’re pretty polarized as a country and a major party nominee can probably count on winning 45% of the popular vote. I would predict that Biden will carry all of the 2008 Obama states — with the exception of Indiana. However, Biden will take Arizona.
I base this opinion largely upon the fact that no president running for re-election who was presiding over a recession or depression has ever been re-elected. Hoover lost in 1932, Carter lost in 1980 and Bush 41 lost in 1992.
Most of the incumbent presidents who were re-elected had a situation where the economy had improved since they took office. Franklin Roosevelt in 1936, 1940 and 1944 presided over a steadily improving economy. Similarly, the economy continue to improve in 1948 when Truman won his upset victory over New York Governor Tom Dewey. Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama all had a better economy than when they took office.
Gerald Ford in 1976 is kind of a unique case. Despite the fact the economy was improving, he narrowly lost to Jimmy Carter. Ford was never elected as vice president or president and he was hurt by the Nixon pardon.
George W. Bush is another exception to this historical pattern. Unemployment was higher in 2004 than 2000 — it had increased from 4% to 5.5%. Nonetheless, the economy was growing slowly but the election was largely decided on national security issues.
Another factor is that the incumbent presidents who appeared to be incompetent and in over their heads all lost. Hoover took the position that the federal government had no responsibility to end the Depression. Instead, Hoover believed that it was up to the states and the private sector to end the Depression. Moreover, Hoover kept promising that prosperity was around the corner.
Carter suffered from a similar perception that he was incompetent. Carter gave a speech in 1979 in which he blamed the country’s problems on a “crisis of confidence” among the American people. The speech was labeled the “malaise speech” even though he never uttered the word in the speech — he did use the term in a subsequent press conference. Carter was then doomed in 1980 by the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, double digit inflation and a recession.
Twelve years later, Bush 41 largely lost because the economy had been in recession in 1990–91 and was still largely stagnant in 1992. It still felt like a recession to most Americans. Bush 41 was widely regarded as an excellent foreign policy president but he appeared to be largely indifferent to domestic issues.
The presidents who failed to be re-elected were also dogged by low approval ratings. Both Carter and Bush 41 had approval ratings in the high 30s on election day.
Now when you apply those historical factors to 2020, it is clear that Trump is toast. The economy collapsed earlier this year due to Trump’s shambolic response to the corona virus. We’re currently suffering from 11% unemployment and there are signs it will begin to increase again in light of the pandemic that is now raging unchecked in most of the country.
The soaring corona virus cases have also fed the (correct) perception that Trump is incompetent. That perception of ineptitude is further fed by Trump’s increasingly bizarre behavior and out and out racism. A majority of the American people have simply lost confidence in the former TV reality star.
The economic collapse and Trump’s failures have driven down what were already anemic approval ratings for the orange hued mogul. The newly released Gallup poll indicated that Trump’s approval has dropped to 38% — which is similar to Carter and Bush 41 territory.
The Presidents who were re-elected had approval ratings in the high 40s, low 50s or even higher in the cases of the landslide re-elections. Approval ratings in June of re-election year via Gallup:
W Bush 49%
HW Bush 37% *
Carter 32% *
(I question the approval rating for Truman since Gallup utilized flawed polling methodology and quit taking polls well before the election. Truman’s approval ratings in 1947 had been as high as 60%.)
All of the historical signs point to Trump losing — and losing rather badly. It’s pretty evident that around 60% of the country wants to get rid of Trump. We Democrats should convey a sense of confidence to create a bandwagon effect. Everybody loves a winner. At the same time, we should take nothing for granted.
Organize! Vote! On to victory in November!