"With the economy still suffering from the global coronavirus recession in early fall, our state-based and national election models both anticipate President Donald Trump will lose the popular vote," the U.K.-based global forecasting organization said Wednesday. "An unemployment rate above its global financial crisis peak, household income nearly 6 percent below its pre-virus levels, and transitory deflation will make the economy a nearly insurmountable obstacle for Trump come November."
Before the coronavirus, the organization was predicting Trump would win 55% of the popular vote. In April, as the coronavirus spread in the U.S., the model predicted Trump would take 43% of the popular vote.
The model, according to CNN, has correctly predicted the popular vote in every election since 1948 other than 1968 and 1976. Two candidates during that span — George W. Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 — lost the popular vote but won the White House.
The model uses unemployment, disposable income and inflation to forecast election results. “It would take nothing short of an economic miracle for pocketbooks to favor Trump,” Oxford Economics wrote in the report.
On Thursday, more bad economic news was delivered by the U.S. Department of Labor, when its new weekly jobless report found almost 39 million people have filed for jobless aid over more than 2.5 months.
The continuing job cuts reflect an economy gripped by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the economy is shrinking at a 38% annual rate in the April-June quarter. That would be, by far, the worst quarterly contraction on record.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the unemployment rate could peak in May or June at 20% to 25%, a level unseen since the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
As of April, unemployment stood at 14.7%, a figure also unmatched since the era when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself.
The downturn — unprecedented in its speed — has turned up the pressure on politicians to lift the lockdowns that are destroying businesses and livelihoods.
About 5 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected, and more than 328,000 deaths have been recorded. That includes more than 93,000 in the U.S. and about 165,000 in Europe, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University and based on government data.