Signs and Portents

If you judge based on the polls, President Trump is going to suffer a resounding defeat on election day. If, on the other hand, you look at the indicators that have presaged the outcome in previous elections, not only is that outcome not ensured, it’s wrong. Consider this observation by Paul Brandus at MarketWatch:

Here’s the research, and it is compelling: Since 1928, whenever the S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.69% of the largest U.S. stocks has risen in the three months prior to a presidential election, the party that controlled the White House won 90% of the time.

“If you think about it intuitively, it makes sense,” says Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivative strategist for the investment firm BTIG who compiled the data. “Because a rising stock market tends to be a ratification of the present policies being satisfying to the investing public.”

History lines up squarely behind Emanuel. In 1928, for example, President Calvin Coolidge, a Republican, chose to retire, but stocks rose between August and November. It was the last full year of the Roaring ’20s and helped lift the new GOP standard bearer, Herbert Hoover, into the White House.

Four years later, the reverse occurred. The Great Depression, which began in the fall of 1929, dragged down stocks — including between August and November 1932 — and Hoover was crushed by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In fact, there have been six presidential years since 1928 when the S&P 500 fell in the three months before election day. All six times, the party in the White House lost.

In meting out its punishment, the markets have proven to be agnostic. In three of those six instances, Republicans lost. In the other three, Democrats did.

The late Sen. Pat Moynihan’s advice is out-of-date. Now everybody has their own facts. Now go back and re-read my earlier post today. Not only may both sides think they are going to win, they may think that the only explanation for their failure to win is cheating by the other side. That sets the stage for violence more than at any time since the American Civil War.

5 comments… add one
  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    The indicator (stock market performance 3 months before election) there does not seem statistically significant.

    It is too bad that beyond polling, there are not many rigorously studied and verified approaches for predicting election outcomes. What exists are anecdotal approaches like yard signs, rally size, amount of money raised / spent, betting markets.

    So the best tools there are today indicate Biden wins handily. We don’t know how good the tools are given the cultural landscape.

    See here.

  • There are actually lots of them. The Fair Model, the Oxford Model derived from the Fair Model, Moody’s three models.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Moody’s model uses Presidential approval rating (i.e. a poll) as a factor.

    Surprisingly these models do not incorporate campaign spending / ad time. Which flies in the face of common sense considering the amount of money spent on ads.

  • MaryRose Jeffry Link

    Violence after the election is being prepared for in Los Angles. All officers have been put on notice to be prepared for extreme violence following the election.

  • jan Link

    And, I wonder “who” will be ones being the main actors promoting said violence?

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