As we await the U.S. presidential election results, we review the results of the Trump Administration’s economic policies to see if Americans are better off financially than they were four years ago.
Topics covered include:
- Why pollsters and election models can be wrong
- Why the state of the economy often drives election outcomes
- What has been the economic impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- What has been the impact of the U.S. trade war with China
- How have poverty and health insurance costs changed under the Trump Administration
- What has been the growth of federal regulations under the Trump Administration
- How have stocks performed during the Trump Administration
- Why we shouldn’t let whoever wins the presidency ruin our life
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Welcome to Money For the Rest of Us. This is a personal finance show on money, how it works, how to invest it, and how to live without worrying about it. I’m your host, David Stein. Today’s episode, 320. It’s titled “Someone won the election. Now what?”
Four years ago, at the time of the last U.S. presidential election in 2016, I recorded a two-part episode. One on Tuesday, election day, and the next part, the following day, once the results were known. It was episode 132, titled “Trump wins. Now what?” I will not be doing a two-part episode this presidential election. Today is election day, November 3rd, 2020. It had been a combative election season, with many early voters.
As of last Friday, 94 million Americans had voted in the election, double the 47 million that did so in 2016. There’s record turnouts. But the results might not be known for days or weeks, because a lot of those early votes have to be counted.
Why Polls Can Be Wrong
In 2016, when Trump won, it was a surprise, because the various election models, such as Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight had Trump at only a 20% probability of winning. These models are based on numerous polls. All polls ask questions and then weight or adjust the results based on estimates of likely voters.
In 2016, pollsters systematically under-estimated the number of white males without a college degree that would vote. Many more voted, and that was enough to push the electoral college victory to President Trump. Pollsters believe they have adjusted for that under-estimation this round.
There also appears to be a lot less undecided voters in the days and weeks leading up to the election. Does that mean the election models will be more accurate? We’ll see. FiveThirtyEight’s model, which simulates the election results 40,000 times, they see Biden winning 89 times out of 100. And Trump 10 out of 100, and a tie 1 out of 100.
The Economist also has an election model. It includes poll data, but also current economic data. They see Biden’s chances of winning the Electoral College at 97%, better than 19 and 20. Still, surprises happen, and it could happen again.
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