Going into the Labor Day weekend, political analyst Greg Valliere said that he’s “unwilling” to call who’ll win the presidential election as “there are too many wildcards.”
On a Friday morning webcast, Greg Valliere, chief investment strategist for Horizon Investments, said the election polls released the same day by Real Clear Politics (the only poll he watches) show that the chances that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will win “in a landslide has slipped dramatically.”
While Clinton was up seven to eight points over Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, that lead has slipped to 4.5 points.
Why the narrowing? “It’s not necessarily that Trump is wildly popular, but a growing antipathy for Clinton,” Valliere said.
Noting the importance of the Electoral College, Trump will need “to expand his support via his core,” Valliere said, but “the Electoral College is the big one” in terms of clinching the presidency.
Clinton is favored to get 270 votes, he said, while for Trump, he “could win Ohio, Florida and North Carolina and still lose if he doesn’t pick up more” states. “If he closes [a win] in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will have a tight finish.”
Trump is also gaining favor in the polls because “I think he’s now shown signs he’s willing to go outside the box,” with his visits to flood-ravaged Louisiana and to meet with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto — trips Clinton hasn’t taken.
On the congressional front, Valliere said he sees “beginnings of serious dialogue on tax reform” as well as infrastructure issues in the new Congress.
But any chances of Clinton’s plans to hike taxes on the wealthy will not make in through House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican-controlled House.
Political uncertainty aside, “for investors, the big story is that the fundamentals look pretty darn good,” Valliere said. Noting that the Federal Reserve has not held to its promise of four rate hikes this year, Valliere sees the weak Friday morning jobs report signals that the Fed will not hike in September. “I think the December [rate hike] scenario has picked up a lot more adherence after this morning’s employment report,” Valliere said. Federal Reserve Board Chair “Janet Yellen is the most dovish Fed chairman of our lifetime.”
Andy Friedman of The Washington Update noted in his recent commentary that amid the election frenzy, Congress comes back from its August break facing pre-election pressure to fund the government by Oct. 1 to avoid a shutdown.
While leaders of both parties are angling to avoid a shutdown prior to the election, “some House conservatives are balking at continuing the current funding compromise reached last December, which they see as failing to rein in spending,” Friedman said.
In the final analysis, The Washington Update believes Congress “will pass timely legislation to fund the government for a short period, perhaps until the post-election lame duck session or into 2017.”
However, “the possibility of a congressional failure to act cannot be dismissed. If it becomes apparent that Congress will struggle to pass funding legislation, late September could be a volatile time for the markets,” he continued. “Failure to act also could factor into a Fed decision to postpone an interest rate hike in September until the turmoil passes.”
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