October 2023


Forecasting the 2024 election

State Street LIVE: Research Retreat offers a wide range of academic expertise and timely market insights.

Trying to predict the outcome of the 2024 United States election is like trying to accurately forecast the weather more than a few days out – it is difficult and unpredictable.

The 2024 election is still more than a year away, and that is simply too far out for accurate projections, said Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

“Anyone making a prediction at this point with any degree of confidence is just not telling the truth,” he said. “No one is entirely sure about who will win.”

Still, Drezner presented some likely scenarios for 2024 to a gathering of financial industry experts during the State Street LIVE: Research Retreat in Boston.

Presidential nomination
Most Americans do not want a sequel. Earlier this year, polls showed 60 percent of Americans do not want Donald Trump to run again, and 70 percent do not want Joe Biden to run, Drezner said. More recent polling, however, shows that both candidates are the likely nominees.

Congressional election
Democrats are going to lose control of the senate based on geography, math and association to Joe Biden, said Drezner. In 2024, there will be at least four Senate seats where Republicans have a 50/50 chance of winning. In West Virginia, which overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, Joe Manchin will likely not win re-election; Montana’s Jon Tester, who barely squeaked by in 2018, faces a tough contest; Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, who defected the Democratic Party, will run as an independent in a largely red state; and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown is up for re-election in a swing state that is increasingly becoming a red state. In all likelihood, in 2025 it will be a GOP-controlled Senate, said Drezner.

Presidential election
Though the latest polling shows Biden and Trump in a statistical tie, Drezner said he expects Biden will beat Trump. A breakdown of the election by the electoral college points to Biden performing well nationally. Also, if the economy continues to move in the current direction – with no recession and with inflation holding steady – voters will be more enthusiastic about Biden, he added.

Plus, the four criminal indictments former president Trump is facing will weigh heavily in the general election, and can even potentially alienate voters. “My hunch is that Trump will be found guilty on three of those four cases,” he said. “That means those cases will be on the news over and over.”

Furthermore, Trump could be disqualified from being on the ballot in some states due to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone found aiding and abetting an insurrection from holding public office. If Secretaries of State and state election officials deem that Trump’s actions during the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol amounts to insurrection, he could be barred from being on a state’s ballot.

One thing that is certain about the 2024 election is that it will be polarized, said Drezner. The country is bitterly divided – Republicans staunchly vote for GOP candidates and Democrats strictly favor Democratic candidates. If Biden wins, Drezner foresees a continuation of the status quo for the country. Biden will focus on foreign policy; after all, a second term president that loses control of the Senate will have more control over foreign policy than over domestic policy.

On the other hand, if Trump wins expect to see more unilateral policies, like applying a global tariff on all products, imposing immigration restrictions and even reclassifying many civil service career employees to at-will status, which strips them of any civil service protections, Drezner concluded.

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