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JPMorgan says investors should prepare for rising odds of a Trump 2020 win

September 1, 2020, 2:47 AM UTC

Investors should position for the rising odds of President Donald Trump winning re-election, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Betting odds that earlier had Trump well behind challenger Joe Biden are now nearly even — largely due to the impact on public opinion of violence around protests, as well as potential bias in polls, said strategist Marko Kolanovic.

Based on past research, there could be a shift of five to 10 points in polls from Democrats to Republicans if the perception of protests turns from peaceful to violent, he said. People giving inaccurate answers could artificially skew polls in favor of Biden by 5%-6%, he added.

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“Certainly a lot can happen in the next ~60 days to change the odds, but we currently believe that momentum in favor of Trump will continue, while most investors are still positioned for a Biden win,” Kolanovic wrote Monday. “Implications could be significant for the performance of factors, sectors, COVID-19 winners/losers, as well as ESG.”

Biden’s narrowing advantage in polls evokes memories of the 2016 election, when such tallies seemed to favor Hillary Clinton strongly. While Clinton won the popular vote by several million, the Electoral College, a state-by-state count that determines the election outcome, ended decisively in Trump’s favor.

Kolanovic said important drivers of the election in coming weeks include developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, which looks like it might subside as the vote nears.

Also key are the outcome of any debates, and the Democrats’ stance on protests. The latter risks turning off voters generally if seen as too permissive, but also could alienate progressives if it’s not seen as sympathetic enough, according to the note.