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The race to win the White House in November 2024 is now in full gear. For anyone who’s accustomed to reading the news, watching TV, or engaging with social media platforms, the font of information on this topic will overflow as we approach November.

At this point, the Presidential election seems to be headed toward a 2020 rematch. The outcome likely will be consequential in many areas, including for the tax and investment environment for individuals and businesses.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call hosted by Goldman Sachs, which featured a leader in the bank’s Office of Government Affairs.

Key takeaways on the current political situation ahead of the November elections:

  • The race for the Republican nomination will continue if Nikki Haley wins a plurality of the votes in the New Hampshire primary on 1/23; otherwise the race is “pretty much over”
  • In a Biden-Trump rematch, the third-party element is important; currently Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Jill Stein, and Cornell West cumulatively are polling in the mid-teens to low-twenties in the percentage of the popular vote
  • Third party candidate support tends to pivot toward the established candidates as election day approaches
  • In 2016, third-party candidates accounted for 3-6% of voters in battleground states; in 2020, support for third-party candidates collapsed to about 1.5% of the vote in battleground states
  • Third-party voters who pivot have tended to favor Democrats, so if third-party support stays strong, Republicans will likely be the beneficiaries
  • In the electoral college, Biden will start with 226 “highly likely” votes and Trump with 219, with 270 required to take office
  • There are seven states in the “up for grabs” category: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
  • In 2016, Trump won all seven of these swing states
  • In 2020, Biden won 6 of the 7, losing only in North Carolina
  • States which had the tightest margins in 2020 were Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, where the cumulative margin of victory was 44,000 votes
  • The House of Representatives is down to a 2-seat Republican majority due to recent departures
  • Congressional districts are being redrawn in some areas as a result of court challenges from 2020-21, which will likely favor Democrats
  • Three Senate seats in “super-red territory” are coming up for re-election which are currently held by Democrats: in Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia
  • It seems possible that Democrats could win a majority of seats in the House, and probable that Republicans will win a majority of seats in the Senate
  • With a Trump victory, a sweep of the House and Senate is possible, which would put Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency
  • With a Biden victory, divided government is the likely outcome
  • Presidential election years typically correspond with weaker stock market returns