The United States economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate in the July-September quarter, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is the strongest period of economic growth in two years. The report shows increases in exports, personal consumption, federal government spending and other factors. Another report from the Commerce Department announced an increase in consumer spending and personal income. Some political pundits have declared that these reports help Hillary Clinton by undermining Donald Trump’s claim that the U.S. economy is dying. According to Greg Valliere, Chief Global Strategist at Horizon Investments,
“This is still another reason why Trump will probably lose. The economy is in decent shape — so decent that the Fed will have to raise interest rates later this year,” said Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments. “This report shows a solid economy with — ironically — decent export growth. Hillary Clinton simply has to avoid gloating. But this is a big plus for her, and she may get another pleasant surprise when the October jobs report is released next Friday.”
Conversely, Donald Trump has pledged 4 percent growth if he is elected president. Therefore, a 2.9 percent growth which economic analysts do not expect to sustain and a personal income and spending report which failed to meet expectations probably do not do much to alter the opinions of those who already support Trump and have great concern over the U.S. economy. Clinton supporters already believed the economy was relatively healthy, so it is unlikely these reports do much to sway their opinions. Furthermore, it is unlikely these two groups are able to agree as to what these reports mean, or who should be given credit for the growth. And even if these reports do move the polls it won’t be by much.
However, the polls are narrowing and sometimes public opinion polls fail to accurately measure a candidate’s support. Thereby, these economic reports may not matter much, but a little bit may be enough. Especially considering all of the other things which could affect the final votes. And not things which are expected to matter or should matter, like the recent revelation by the FBI of new Clinton emails.
Things like shark attacks, droughts and floods, other natural disasters, the outcome of football games, and how you lean (literally) while voting have been proven to affect voting behavior. Things which are exogenous to the candidates. Events which affect voters adversely can cause these voters to lash out at the incumbent party and vote for their opponent. For example, Al Gore may have lost seven states during the 2000 presidential election due to unusual weather patterns.
Thereby, if the Nebraska Cornhuskers defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, there is a shark attack off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday, severe weather hits Florida on Monday and enough voters lean right while voting on Tuesday, Donald Trump could win the election.