On an April podcast, I predicted that Trump was pursuing a high-risk strategy on COVID that would probably cost him in November:
If I were Trump I’d be very worried about the fact that, if you look at the polling, people are broadly supportive of the measures the government is taking—even the heavy-handed ones—and yet Trump’s individual approval ratings on coronavirus aren’t particularly high. Trump is in this situation where people don’t mind his policies but they increasingly have no confidence in his competence or command of the situation. Trump’s counting on a massive economic resurgence in the immediate lead-up to the elections. I don’t know if you can time things that way and I don’t know that it would be enough even if you could.
Two weeks before the November elections, I think Trump is in an even worse dilemma than he was in the spring.
COVID looks like it will help turn the November elections into a bloodbath for Republicans.
Never mind that Trump managed to get COVID himself.
Not only have Trump’s personal approval ratings on COVID remained low, but in his desperation to keep the economy afloat on the eve of the elections, he is also losing the policy fight in a way he hasn’t so far.
Trump’s decision to advocate for a massive COVID relief package is leaving him with the worst of all worlds. He looks cynical and desperate, which is isolating him politically.
For Republicans, standing up to Trump on a $2 trillion spending bill presents an ideal opportunity to jump off a sinking ship before the elections.
Democrats, meanwhile, understand that economic troubles will probably redound to their benefit. But even if this is not the case, their obstinance has split the Republicans and brought Trump to their side.
What makes all this especially precarious for Republicans is the fact that their base prefers to vote on election day. While Democrats bank mail-in votes, Republicans are leaving themselves exposed to the possibility that renewed COVID fears could cause their base to stay home or change their minds on Trump at the last minute. This is particularly true of seniors.
I think the markets are underestimating the possibility that COVID could leave the GOP in a much worse situation in two weeks than they are today.
This is why I’m willing to take a gamble in some risky markets on the assumption that I’ll be able to profit or at least break even without holding them all the way through the elections:
— Clean sweep for Democrats: Yes at 56%
— Florida Presidential Margin of Victory: Dems by 6%+ at 12%
— Georgia Presidential: Dems to win at 40%
— Georgia Presidential Vote Margin of Victory: Dems by 6% or more at 7%
— Iowa Presidential: Dems to win 32%
— Ohio Presidential: Dems to win at 35%
— Senate Race with Smallest MOV: Long Texas, Kansas, South Carolina, Alaska at 5-8%
— South Carolina Senate: Harrison at 25%
— State with Smallest MOV?: Yes on Alaska at 4%, Missouri and South Carolina at 1-2%.
— Timing of Presidential Election Call: Yes on November 3 at 35%
Pratik Chougule is a contributor to Star Spangled Gamblers and author of the book How to Make Money from Political Predictions: A Guide to Generating High, Steady Returns from PredictIt.