Nov 03, 2020
Disclosure: We're running this live blog off-and-on until we have final results. We won't be breaking news but we will be reacting. Further, we won't be making ANY investment recommendations based on this content and we would discourage you from interpreting this as advice. As always, check out our disclosure.
November 6 - 10:10 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Arguably the biggest losers of this election (aside from all the loser candidates) were the media and the pollsters, so that makes guys like Nate Silver "a data journalist" for FiveThirtyEight (an ABC-owned property) the one of the biggest losers in the world.
Losing begets losing and apparently Nate is the mayor of Loser Mountain.
Never has the media looked more ignorant than in heaping praise on the media for how great said media will look when they finally do something that other major media outlets (like us) have already done.
Nate says that the first network to "call" the election is going to look good in retrospect. Dude. Were you not on our morning market briefing yesterday? Were you sleeping while hardcore political journalists with boots on the ground were covering this election and calling (correctly, I might add) the outcome?
It's really sad to see. Trust in American institutions has never been lower and Silver's refusal to recognize the real heroes of this election is further eroding America's confidence in the media.
November 5 - 7:05 p.m. ET -- Andrew
In summary: There have been shenanigans.
November 5 - 7:00 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Trump isn't using my talking points. He looks and sounds defeated but his words are refusing to recognize defeat.
November 5 - 6:45 p.m. ET -- Andrew
If I am Trump (and thankfully, I'm not) I'm saying the following:
November 5 - 6:35 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Still waiting on Trump - true to form. For my money, he's only coming out to speak for two reasons:
If he wants to feebly attempt to control the narrative of "we're being robbed and we're still winning!" the time is now.
November 5 - 6:25 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Trump is about to speak. We'll be live, at least for a while, with coverage on that.
November 5 - 5:10 p.m. ET -- Andrew
There's so much going on (and nothing at the same time!) that it's hard to keep up with everything. One of the most under-covered storylines of the 2020 election is the role of Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate. We've heard about third-party candidates making a difference before, but she's just off the radar, presumably because she's receiving far fewer votes than prior third-party/independent candidates. For context:
The reason I bring up Jorgensen is this: her votes have actually impacted races - in theory. Per her campaigning, Jorgensen wants free-market healthcare and strongly opposes a single-payer system. She thinks the U.S. response to COVID-19 has been overly-bureaucratic and authoritarian. She thinks shut-downs have been "the biggest assault on our liberties in our lifetime." I don't have to tell you what she thinks about mask mandates. On some of the hottest-button issues, her supporters would likely lean Republican. Would they have voted for Trump? Who knows. But what if they did?
So what happens if we add her meager vote total to Trump? Here's how things would look now:
So think about this: If Trump were leading right now 255-243 because he won Wisconsin and Georgia and North Carolina were out of reach and in his win column. Would this race not suddenly be coming down to either a. Holding on to a much larger lead in hotly-contested Pennsylvania or closing out by winning Nevada (where he would be leading) and Arizona (where there would be a really strong case to be made he's closing if the gap were smaller)?
For what it's worth: There are NO state races that would have flipped to Democrats if she had sent her support there. This wasn't a goal-seeking exercise. That's a fancy way of saying: Republicans have done a great job of losing close races which doesn't lend itself to success on Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona or Nevada.
We called the race for Biden this morning. Final Electoral Vote Prediction: Trump gets North Carolina and Hawaii to end up at 232. Biden wins PA, AZ, Nevada and Georgia to wind up with 306.
November 5 - 4:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew
This thing may or may not ever be resolved. Someone should research what happens if no one wins. Here's where we stand:
That's a total of 71 Electoral Votes up for grabs. Biden has 253 Electoral Votes (if we assume AZ is in question) to his name. Trump has 214.
If you think this is bad, it's worth noting that the WORST POSSIBLE SCENARIO is still on the table. If Biden sits at 253 and wins Georgia, he gets to 269 Electoral Votes. If Trump won all the other states in question, he'd get to 269 votes. In that scenario, the tie is to be broken by the House of Representatives with each states representatives huddling together and casting a single collective vote for their state. If folks stuck to party lines, Trump would win that vote. And the world might catch on fire.
November 5 - 1:15 p.m. ET -- Andrew
The County Registrar from Clark County Nevada just said "the goal here in Clark County is not to count fast." Mission Accomplished!
He's real, real tired of reporters' questions.
November 5 - 10:50 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is speaking now. He expects the count to be done today and notes that "for the first time in 20 years, Georgia is using paper ballots." Credit to the Peach State for going back in time on technology. He also notes that Florida has more ballots left to count than Georgia, which was a nice little jab during Florida/Georgia week. I would add that it's also worth noting that on the football field, Florida has had a lot less counting to do over the past three seasons in that rivalry game. The Bulldogs have outscored the Gators 102-41.
November 5 - 10:30 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Pam Bondi and the Trump camp got an order from a judge granting them access to "immediately" observe the vote counting process in Pennsylvania. So I guess they're getting into the fray. Who knows what is happening in there, but I'm 100% sure they will make claims of impropriety.
November 5 - 9:20 a.m. ET -- Andrew
We mentioned the potential for another Senate run-off in Georgia between my main man (kidding) Jon Ossoff and David Perdue. Perdue is at the absolute threshold right now to stay above 50%. To be clear: he's leading Ossoff, but he must stay above 50% to avoid a run-off. Right now, he's sitting at 50.028%. He's 1,351 votes ahead of the minimum threshold based on votes counted. Per the Wall Street Journal* 98% of the vote has been cast. That implies Perdue would need to win 48.64% of the vote outstanding to stay above 50%. Given where these votes are coming from, that seems highly unlikely.
Interestingly, Republican Senate candidates in Georgia (Perdue as well as a slew of them in the other election) have out-performed Trump in the state of Georgia. As I mentioned earlier, Perdue has captured 50.028% of votes in his race. Trump is sitting at 49.6%. In the other election, Republicans picked up a combined 49.7%. That's not as convincing, but it was a crowded field. Notably, Democrats in that crowded election only combined for 48.2% of votes, under-performing Biden's current projection by 1%.
November 5 - 8:30 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Links to this morning's market briefing:
November 5 - 7:40 a.m. ET -- Andrew
November 5 - 7:15 a.m. ET -- Andrew
If you don't follow the blog today, here's what I'd recommend: Watch the lawsuits. Trump isn't filing suit in a state that's not already lost or mathematically likely.
They'll make claims of rampant corruption, etc. Who knows if that stuff is true? What is true, however, is that those claim when things get bleak.
November 5 - 7:00 a.m. ET -- Andrew
The market woke up on the right side of the bed once again this morning.
Speaking of the Nasdaq, I just want to remind everyone that Ben and I rang the closing bell at the Nasdaq last summer.
November 5 - 6:25 a.m. ET -- Andrew
So where are we now? Trump continues to close in Arizona and according to some folks, he's closing at the rate he needs. The problem for everyone in the whole world is that they're dropping tiny batches of ballots.
If there's such a thing as ballot counting "momentum," Biden has it all in Georgia. Trump leads by 18,540 votes (0.4%) with 4% of the vote outstanding. Keep in mind, last night I noted that 5% of the vote was still out and Trump had a 0.8% lead. The lead is closing and both data sets come from NYT.
Nevada still hasn't done a single, solitary thing in 24+ hours. North Carolina is aspiring to that level of un-productivity and may achieve it.
PA is inching toward Biden, but I'm shocked Trump's lead hasn't totally evaporated yet.
November 4 - 9:15 p.m. ET -- Andrew
The data report from Arizona was super weak. Pac-12 Football weak. I guess that's what we should expect. Trump closed the gap to about 79,000 votes.
Trump came in +18 in that latest dump in Maricopa County - the largest county in Arizona.
Ben says CNBC retracted their Arizona call for Biden. Fox has not done so but they aren't as confident as they were last night.
There's another data dump from Arizona coming at midnight, but there's no way I make it that long. I'm taking a page out of the Biden playbook and calling a lid.
I'll check in in the morning. I'm confident we'll know the result then and half the country will be very upset.
November 4 - 9:10 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Arizona is suddenly pretty crucial. Without something that remains, at least outside of Trump World, unexpected this thing is all but over. Trump would need to win Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Right now, here's where we stand (per New York Times) in those four states:
I don't feel like Trump is in a better position to pull off the upset than he was three hours ago. But I don't think he's materially worse off. At least not right this minute. Last night, I wanted to bet on Biden when he was +450 on betting markets (bet $100 to win $450). Right now, Trump is +650. Honestly, that's tempting as a bettor. Bet $100 to win $650 and he just needs to hold on in three states and flip one of two (either Arizona or Nevada).
We mentioned David Perdue's need to stay above 50% in the last post. He was sitting at 50.4% about three hours ago. Now he's at 50.2%.
November 4 - 6:25 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Alright, folks. I'm going home. I will be back around 9 p.m. when we expect some news from Arizona. We may have more reaction from recently-sued PA (whose Governor is speaking now). We may have a read-through on Georgia.
Or we may not have any of this. If I had to make a call right now, it's pretty clear Biden is going to win this sucker. Anything to the contrary would be quite unexpected. Trump's path still exists and its not materially different than it was 24 hours ago or two weeks ago. But it's not all that likely.
One thing to keep an eye on: David Perdue needs over 50% of the vote to win Georgia. He leads Ossoff somewhat comfortably, but he's at a real risk of falling below 50% (he sits at 50.4% with 93% reported). A run-off may actually activate more Republican voters in a dual-run-off (him vs. Ossoff / Loeffler vs. Warnock) as Republicans seem to be out-pacing total Democrat votes on the total votes cast basis. They may or may not have turned out just for Loeffler (who has baggage). It seems they would be more likely to turnout for two Republicans. The same is true for Democrats (voting twice may be a more compelling case than voting once), but again, Republicans led.
November 4 - 5:25 p.m. ET -- Andrew
I had FoxNews on for a minute and they were bemoaning the fact that the counting process is taking so long. I've got a hot take: I feel like we're way ahead of where we thought we'd be at this point in terms of votes counted.
Meanwhile, in the past few hours a few developments from the two old white guys in question:
The demeanor gap between these two couldn't be wider.
Biden seems confident and graceful. He's choosing words well, being cautious but seems in control.
Trump seems chaotic, frenzied and desperate.
I talk with Sam a lot about this in the office but Trump is the scrappy, obnoxious, pesky under-dog in the election. To win, Sam and I would postulate, the underdog has to be unorthodox in playing style from the onset...a flea-flicker to open the game, throwing deep on third-and-one, going for it on fourth-and-5 on your own 40-yard line. If it works...you might have a shot. But it wreaks of desperation.
I think what puzzles me here is Trump Camp has been confident and defiant about odds in Arizona for nearly 20 hours now. They hotly dispute the calls of Arizona for Biden. They continue to insist there's a path in Nevada. They lead, for the moment, in Georgia and North Carolina and at surface level at least one of those races seems beyond Biden's reach. They're "playing their game" in the fourth quarter - hell, it's closer than anyone expected. And now they're doing obnoxious stuff. Why not save that for overtime when you go for two after your first TD? [Shout out to Indiana]
November 4 - 5:00 p.m. ET -- Andrew (2 new beers)
I'm very hesitant to side with America's Mayor on the narrative below. But to my knowledge we have not seen any sizable vote drops featuring 100% Trump votes. We've now seen SEVERAL for Biden. In Philly (about an hour ago), for instance, 23,277 new votes were logged. 100% of them were for Joe Biden. I mean that seems pretty wild. Philly is roughly 80% for Biden now. If you try to calculate the odds of that (.8^23277) on excel and add decimals to capture all the zeroes...it won't let you. It's like one in a squillion (made up number). For context, if Biden is getting 80% of the vote, the odds of even four consecutive random Biden votes appearing is 40%. The odds of ten in a row is less than 11%. The odds of 20 in a row is 1.15%. The odds of 50 in a row is 0.0014%. The odds of 100 in a row is 0.000000002%. So 100 in a row is about 1 in 500 million.
Earlier today something similar happened in Michigan.
To be clear: for all I know, these places are just splitting ballots by presidential candidate and similar dumps are coming in for Trump. I just haven't seen evidence of one (please send us if you see one) and that seems like bad process.
November 4 - 4:50 p.m. ET -- Andrew (1 new beer)
Eric Trump and Rudy Giulani presser underway. Eric says the only way Biden can win in PA is cheating. He claims observers are not allowed to see ballots/counting process, democrats passed out pro-Biden collateral at polling sites and legitimate ballots have been trashed.
Giuliani speaking now and calls the Judge in Philly a "political hack" and notes the ballots could be from Mars as far as he knows. He's throwing out some really wild accusations. He wants to find out just how many dead people voted and if people were bussed in from Camden. He says they're filing the exact same lawsuit in Wisconsin and notes that about 120,000 ballots "mysteriously appeared" in the middle of the night last night and they were counted without witnesses. "This is they way they intend to win."
He adds they're looking into three other places.
This is a lose/lose for the Trump team IMO. Let's say they're right and everything they say is held up by the law. What do they gain for accusing ballots coming from Mars? Let's say they're wrong, how much damage do they do the Republican Party, the Voting Process, the State of Pennsylvania, etc.?
November 4 - 3:50 p.m. ET -- Andrew
No appearance from Eric Trump yet. But he did Tweet this about 15 minutes ago. Either he's a modern day Rain Man, in the sense that he knows numbers in a way that others do not. Or, he's a modern day Rain Man, in the sense that...well...you know.
We have won Pennsylvania!— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) November 4, 2020
November 4 - 3:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew (working on raw, unadulterated grit)
Apparently, Team Trump is having a presser at 3:30. Eric Trump will be taking center stage which is...really something. When Ben announced that, I thought it was a joke. Eric doesn't get a lot of shine. I would say this is an internal sign of defeat for Trump but given his ridiculous appearance last night I'm not sure is in that kind of spot. Is it some kind of misguided human victory cigar? Is he putting in a fifth-year walk-on quarterback to take a knee in a blowout victor on homecoming weekend? If so, he clearly knows something we don't.
Here's where we stand right now:
November 4 - 1:05 p.m. ET -- Ben (3 cups of coffee, Qdoba bowl)
Although Arizona has been called by multiple outlets there is reason to think there could be continued tightening in the race and President Trump may mount a comeback. Arizona is currently in the Biden column with 84% of the vote reporting. Biden has an edge of 93k votes (3.4%).
Currently Trump has a lead in Pennsylvania and there is no certainty about the outcome in that state yet. While Trump has a sizable advantage, a large chunk of mail-in ballots remain to be counted. If we assume Trump wins Pennsylvania, then he will still need one more state. Nevada looks tough, and Biden appears to be ready to scrape out narrow victories in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Which means attention may turn back to Arizona, and specifically the 4th largest county in the country (and where Trump won in 2016) – Maricopa County.
Currently, Biden holds the advantage: 857k vs 758k (52.3% vs. 46.3%). Four years ago, this county voted for Trump 47.7% vs. 44.8% (a 3pt victory). If – and this is a big if – we assume that the final vote tally here resembles 2016, the math implies a 9pt swing, or roughly a 144k vote edge. This would more than compensate for his current 93k deficit. In fact, even a 6pt swing (which would imply a dead heat this year) would be enough for Trump to tie the state.
So, the question becomes: what does the remaining vote look like and why are the votes taking so long to arrive?
Bottom Line: It is a long short to flip a state that multiple outlets have already called. However, if Trump has a path to victory, this may be his best bet.
November 4 - 12:50p.m. ET -- Andrew (3 cups of coffee, a quesadilla, some cheese dip)
We've already heard from some clients about portfolio positioning and what to do inside their 401k plans. I think it's critical to remind people of a few facts and a few bits of context.
What's our advice? Stay disciplined. What are we doing? Staying disciplined.
We've been trying to stay as tight to asset allocations as possible during the recent period of volatility, and in some instances we are trimming some stock positions today. This isn't a reaction to a potential Biden victory, however. It's based on the fact that stock portfolios are up more than three percent in most cases.
As a quick example: If a client has $100k invested with a target of 60% allocated to stocks, we want $60k in stocks. If stocks are up 3.5% (like the S&P 500 as of the time of this publication), what once was $60k in stocks is now $62,100. Assuming the rest of the portfolio is flat, the portfolio has grown to $102,100 and equity is now over 61%. So, if we want to be at 60%...we need to trim. We'd be doing that for any reason if the market was moving this way. It's not a political reaction.
November 4 - 10:45 a.m. ET -- Andrew (3 cups of coffee)
Let's bring things close to home for a bit. Here's how Georgia voting currently looks:
On the Senate races, the special election is heading to a run-off. Democrat Raphael Warnock received 31.9% of the vote and will face off against Republican Kelly Loeffler (who is sitting at 26.5%). True to Georgia's dysfunctional roots, there were a million candidates in this race - seriously, there were 20 (not including write-ins). Probably what matters here is the Republican/Democrat split. Right now, the many Republican candidates have more than 2.3 million votes. The many Democrats have just shy of 2 million votes.
David Perdue seems to be in a good position to claim victory today in the more normal Senate race. With similar outstanding vote (less than 10%) uncounted as the Presidential election, he holds a more comfortable lead over Jon Ossoff than Trump holds over Biden. Perdue leads Ossoff by a full four points. Trump leads Biden by 2.2 points.
I could talk for days about my disdain for Jon Ossoff, but I'll just camp out here for a few minutes. He's the epitome of an idealist do-nothing millennial who seems to be on his way to being best known for not one but TWO failed congressional campaigns and he's only 33 years old!
In 2017 he ran against republican Karen Handel in a special election for Georgia's 6th congressional district. He raised nearly $30 million in what was at the time the most expensive U.S. House campaign in history and he lost. He won 48.12% of the vote in the first round of voting, but Georgia requires a majority to win a congressional seat. He raised a ton more money, and in the run-off against Handel he declined to 47% of the vote. Given $30,000,000 in funds raised and 125,517 votes won we're talking about nearly $240 raised per vote.
Undeterred, he is running for Senate now and unsurprisingly money has flooded to him. Recently, he sat a Georgia record for funds raised in a single quarter with $21.3 million in the most recent quarter. As of the most recent disclosure, he'd out-spent David Perdue nearly two-to-one. In total, if he loses, Ossoff will have raised well over $60 million and gone 0-for-2 on winning a seat in either the House or the Senate. In 2024 or 2028, he's going to raise a billion dollars and run for President. He won't win.
There is way too much money spent on this stuff, and he's the paramount of wasted money...at least as measured by results.
November 4 - 9:10 a.m. ET -- Andrew (2 cups of coffee)
Ben brings up a really interesting point in the second paragraph of the post prior to this. What would the results be if all/the vast majority were cast yesterday? I would echo that question, though to be clear...that's not to imply any bias or unfairness in the processes that were in place.
It's also very interesting to think about how the results might have differed if the media had not been so convicted in the clearly incorrect polls they touted. Consider these discrepancies (first number = result as it stands now, second number = Real Clear Politics Polling Average prior to election):
This raises two equal but opposite questions: Would more Republicans have voted if they knew these races were this competitive? Conversely, would more Democrats have voted if they knew these races were so competitive?
The races above had an average swing of 5.18%. That's well beyond a "standard polling error." I am quite confident there are voters on both sides who would have voted differently (or just voted...period) if they knew how bad the polling was.
November 4 - 8:46 a.m. ET -- Ben (1 cup of coffee)
I’m not making a call but I think Biden should now be strongly favored to become the next president of the United States. PA has only just begun to count mail-in ballots. And even if Trump gets that, he would need WI (where he has recently fallen behind by a fraction) or MI (where his lead is evaporating rapidly) as well as GA (which still needs to count more votes in Cobb and Clayton counties (Fulton is almost entirely in now).
It is interesting to speculate how the vote would have been if everyone voted on November 3. Receipt of absentee ballots coincided with the terrible performances in the first debate and during Trump’s COVID-experience. This may have provided Biden the boost he needed and gave him a strong enough position despite the Trump surge over the last two weeks.
November 4 - 8:30 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Link to this morning's market briefing:
November 4 - 7:30 a.m. ET -- Andrew
In the meantime, get your day going with some Good Vibrations. We always do.
November 4 - 7:10 a.m. ET - Andrew (one cup of coffee)
Probably the most underrated story of this election from an economic standpoint is the tax issue. Much of what Biden was proposing on the tax front was relatively significant. Narwhal's own Melissa Visbal has some excellent insights here.
At this juncture, it does not appear that the Senate is going to flip to the Democrats. The strong blue lean in the House was never in question, but the Senate is a bit of a surprise and has significant ramifications. A divided House can cause frustration due to anticipated gridlock.
Economically speaking, a gridlock on Biden tax proposals should be strong for the market.
A gridlock means Biden's proposed increase in the tax cut likely will not go through. That will have a vast benefit to corporations. It also means a capital gains tax rate hike may not usher in a way of gains harvesting between now and the end of 2020. Markets are mixed right now, because there's a lot more to digest than tax rates and none of this is final. But nobody's talking about the benefits of a gridlock.
November 4 - 6:50 a.m. ET - Andrew (still coffee free)
A lot of people are really struggling to understand how we got here given polls that had Trump lagging by a billion points last month. I'm not going to explain that, but I am going to give you the 10 most shocking storylines of Election Day:
10. Trump's margin in Texas was staggering. He's up by 6% when nothing polled close to that.
9. Ben did NOT finish the buffalo chicken dip last night. Just ran out of steam.
8. It's pretty interesting that Virginia was the first state to force a retraction of a call. Certainly didn't see that one.
7. I'm shocked at how early Fox called Arizona for Biden. Supposedly the in-person vote counting had barely started when they called it. CNN and NYT still haven't called it.
6. The wild gyrations of betting markets was like nothing I've ever seen in the gambling world. When you think about it, we still don't really know anything more than we knew eight hours ago and as I said last night I think Biden is still odds-on favorite. The movements yesterday were the equivalent of an underdog putting together a nice 9-play drive to the opponents' 30-yard line on the first possession of a game...and all of a sudden the underdog became the favorite. Oddsmakers were clearly just scraping the vig. Good on em.
5. It was pretty surprising how early and decisive the call in Florida was. A strong performance in Miami-Dade County was critical there.
4. I can't believe how frustrating these mail-in ballots are. I'm not saying I'm opposed to the process or saying they're illegitimate or some crap like that. It's just INSANE how quickly those tallies run in and change the entire narrative on the election for the entire state. And it's crazy how no major broadcast has effectively been able to graph or display that impact in advance because they have no clue.
3. I mean I guess, I kind of teased this in the introductory paragraph but some of the polling was SO bad. That's frustrating. I don't think media is intentionally biased in there conducting/reporting of polls but what is the case of polls being a "net positive" for the electorate?
2. Republicans are actually sitting in a real position of strength on the Senate with only a few seats left up for grabs. Surprisingly (though maybe it shouldn't be), several down-ballot candidates have out-performed Trump.
1. Trump's speech last night was atrocious. I was slightly delirious, but what was that? He told America the other day that winning is much easier than losing and he's never been good at losing. I hope he's better at losing than he is waiting.
November 4 - 6:30 a.m. ET - Andrew
How are markets behaving? Well, I feel like we're living the summer all over again. Nasdaq futures are up quite strongly - up 2.20%. The Dow is down 0.23% and S&P 500 futures are somewhere in the middle (up about 0.37%).
November 4 - 6:20 a.m. ET - Andrew
The authors of the book "Trump: America First" were just on Fox News and they say Trump will be declared victor today. They moved straight from that to the fact that Oregon and D.C. legalized psychedelic mushrooms. Today is going to be a long day, folks.
November 4 - 6:00 a.m. ET - Andrew (zero coffees)
We don't know much more than we did five and a half hours ago (as you can see below). But I think it is now a healthy time to warn about false narratives.
If Biden wins:
If Trump wins:
These are pre-emptive assumptions but we'll see what happens.
November 4 - 5:40 a.m. ET - Andrew (no coffees)
This is wild. Here's where we stand right now.
All the midwestern states move hard on mail-in voting. Arizona is apparently waiting on in-person votes but Fox is not backing off their "call" for Biden in Arizona.
Trump did a weird almost-victory speech late last night while accusing the Dems of trying to steal the election of him. Biden came out and said thanks for your patience.
In the Senate, we're at a 47-47 split between Democrats and Republicans with six races (including some from states from the list above) undecided. As of now, the Democrats are up one net seat. In the House, Republicans are up a net of four seats.
November 4 - 12:02 a.m. ET - Andrew (eight beers, 3 whiskeys)
No more blog tonight. We'll be back early tomorrow. Fun!
November 3 - 11:30 p.m. ET - Andrew (seven beers, 1.5 whiskeys)
The bad news here, folks, is the fact that it is all-but-guaranteed we aren't going to know the winner of this madness for a day or two (at least). And it may, as we pointed out at the beginning of the day, come down to Pennsylvania which will likely be both the slowest and most-contested state.
Themes so far:
Trump has, so far, largely won where he needed to win but a lot of those states have not yet been called. He seems to be out-performing polling numbers across the board though I wouldn't necessarily say that he's done so (at least on paper) to swing the whole election his way.
Biden hasn't lost his path, but it's certainly gotten more narrow and it runs right through the rust belt. That's a precarious position to be in given that Trump did well in 2016, but this is not 2016.
I suppose a read-through could be that Trump had done better than expected and out-performed polls and that theme may hold but if I were setting the betting lines, I'd still have Biden favored.
Keep in Mind PA can count votes till Friday, North Carolina can count votes until next Thursday and Ohio can count votes until next Friday.
November 3 - 11:10 p.m. ET - Ben
Right now, Trump trails Biden by 17 points in Minnesota. Notably, that's only 260,000 votes. Last election saw roughly 3 million votes. Trump closed strong there in 2016 and Minnesota has been counting mail-in boats for two weeks. Most of that lead is likely attributable to mail-in votes. Keep eyes peeled for a close from Trump there but the deficit is stout.
November 3 - 10:30 p.m. ET - Ben
I'm calling Arizona for Biden. Turnout is insane and certainly seems to be trending his direction. With 75% of the vote in already, the lead seems hard to erase for Trump.
November 3 - 10:20 p.m. ET - Andrew
Trump is now -600 on Bovada. If you can bet on this, you should Seems dubious that he's now 85% likely to win.
Also, in the tone of Ben, I'm ready to call California for Joe Biden. Polls have not closed, but I'm confident. We are the first major media outlet to report this call. Please credit us.
November 3 - 10:10 p.m. ET - Andrew (after seven beers)
Betting odds seem to have swung disproportionately against Biden. Odds Shark has Trump at -340 odds which implies a 77% chance he wins this whole thing. That seems extreme. Florida does look like it's going red, but I'm not as sold on North Carolina as Ben and the Virginia retraction is a non-indicator. Interestingly Fox is standing by their Virgina prediction. The Midwest will once again be the key and we basically know nothing about that territory.
November 3 - 9:45 p.m. ET -- Andrew (after six beers)
I just want to point out that CNN has already had to retract a premature election result in Virginia. No such retractions here.
November 3 - 9:40 p.m. ET -- Ben (after four beers and two doses of whiskey)
At this point, I'm prepared to call North Carolina, Texas and Georgia for Trump.
Worth noting that the betting odds, at least for the moment, have Trump as the favorite.
November 3 - 9:30 p.m. ET -- Tom (after 6 beers)
Having a real good; enjoying the beers. Jon Ossoff looks like a real wimp.
Bonds are trending higher after getting beat up early in the day. 30-year bond getting the strongest bid. S&P Futures down 139 points after being up as much as 270 points. As we've said before, the market doesn't like uncertainty, and at the moment Trump is (at least at surface level) out-performing expectation and thus creating some chaos.
November 3 - 9:10 p.m. ET -- Andrew (after 5 beers)
A few predictions: Trump gets Florida (as previously called by Chief Political Correspondent Ben Nye), Georgia and North Carolina. Ben finishes all the buffalo dip at my house before any of those are called.
November 3 - 9:00 p.m. ET -- Ben
I know I said Biden was running strong, but I don't think he's running strong enough as I drill into the data. He needs to close the gap more aggressively with more suburbs still to be counted.
November 3 - 8:45 p.m. ET -- Ben
Biden is running strong in North Carolina - winning by larger margin in counties won by Clinton in 2016. Trump had a bit more of a cushion to play with, but it's trending blue.
November 3 - 8:20 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Earlier today (scroll way down) we stressed the importance of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Below is what the New York Times is now projecting. For what it's worth, FiveThirtyEight had the following odds heading into the day.
Possible that some narratives may be reversed. But it's so early.
November 3 - 8:15 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Not that anyone would ever gamble on something as important as this...but Trump's odds are rallying on betting markets. At 7:15, you had to bet $220 on Joe Biden in order to win $100 (above your initial bet). Now you can win $100 by betting just $130. Trump is moving to the inverse.
Joe Biden's odds continue to fall. #ElectionDay— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) November 4, 2020
Updated odds (Bovada):
Joe Biden -130
Donald Trump EVEN
November 3 - 8:01 p.m. ET - Andrew (holding strong at 4 beers)
I just want the record to show that thanks to the boots on the ground from Ben, Narwhal is the first major media outlet to call Florida for Trump.
November 3 - 7:56 p.m. ET -- Ben
I'm officially calling Florida for Trump. The day-of push is strong and we're still waiting on the panhandle, where he should be strong.
November 3 - 7:38 p.m. ET -- Ben
I guess I'll enter the fray. Obviously, Georgia is a super fascinating state. It seems it could be trending to Biden based on exit polls.
Bottom Line: I think Biden is favored
November 3 - 6:55 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Meanwhile, Martin and some of his buddies in the neighborhood have been preparing to loot and riot in the event that things don't go their way. Given the unlikeliness of a Truck 2020 victory, he seems, at a minimum, prepared. He's watching intently, but he knows that if you stay ready you don't have to get ready. Shoes on; hood up. Incognito as can be. Thoughts and prayers go out to Lizards & Lollipops on Marietta Square. There will be no toys left.
November 3 - 6:40 p.m. ET - Andrew (after 4 beers)
Just got home. The rest of the live blog staff (read: Investment Committee) is coming over here in a bit and at some point, maybe...just maybe...they'll start carrying their own weight on this blog.
In the meantime, polls aren't closed and this is the Election Coverage I'm watching with the future voters of America.
FWIW Hayden, age 5, thinks "the different President who's not Donald Trump" is going to win. [Fact Check: Donald Trump is the United States of America's only President at the moment.] She might be onto something. That being said, she spends most of her afternoons watching the mainstream media, lists Rachel Maddow as the person she'd most like to have dinner with and is a true bleeding-heart liberal. Martin, age two, says he thinks "Truck" is going to win. This is not a mispronunciation of "Trump." He would vote for Truck if he could.
November 3 - 6:15 p.m. ET -- Andrew (after 3 beers)
Locally speaking, the AJC's Greg Bluestein stays pretty on top of things. He says to keep an eye on the following counties: Dekalb, Hall, Floyd, Gwinnett, Forsyth and Cherokee counties.
He also notes (congruent to a prior post) that lines at the polls were not an issue today. Wait times averaged just 3 minutes across the state today.
Meanwhile CNN says the electorate looks less white. So for those of you who still see color in 2020 (like CNN), I guess that might be of interest.
Also of note: Trump's election night party has been reduced to 250 guests. Either he's not optimistic and only wants his best and closest friends around for a potential defeat. Or, he is suddenly COVID-conscious. Or, that's a pointless data point. I'd bet on the last option.
November 3 - 5:40 p.m. ET -- Andrew (after 2 beers)
A CNN Exit poll shows that the economy (where Trump tends to poll better than Biden) is the most important issue for 34% of voters. 21% say the most important issue is racial inequality and 18% say coronavirus. Interesting data point, but that may just be in line with the fact that Republicans defend Trump's COVID record by pointing to the economy (which just posted record quarter-over-quarter GDP recover) and Republicans are voting much more today.
The same poll shows 41% of voters say their family's financial situation is better than four years ago and 38% say it's better.
November 3 - 5:00 p.m. ET -- Andrew (after 1 beer)
A few readers have asked about potential civil unrest following the election. An internal poll of my own brain says there is a 100% likelihood of civil unrest regardless of outcome.
Perhaps more accurate or whatever, an ABC/Washington Post poll asked questions around that issue a few weeks ago. That poll (published October 9) found 82% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans surveyed are ready to accept the outcome of the election as "legitimate."
A USAToday / Suffolk poll more recently found that 39% of respondents were "somewhat concerned" with violence after Election Day. 36% were "very concerned." There was some uniformity across party lines:
So there you have it. America has found something to unite around - our fear of violence after elections. Blest be the tie that binds.
November 3 - 4:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Well folks, always know your audience. A few hours ago we sent an email to all our clients making them aware if this here live blog. In the email we offered the following:
Our official recommendation for Election Day is as follows: 1. Vote (if you have not already) and 2. Spend some time with family. If you can't look away from results, however, feel free to check out our Live Blog.
I've received three responses from clients to the mass-email:
Client 1: Can't wait. Got a bottle of whiskey set out and everything.
Client 2: What about drinking? Is that an option?
Client 3: And drinking Scotch!
In that spirit (pun intended) henceforth, we'll share drink counts. I have not had a single drink yet. But a beer was just placed on my desk and I feel I must delete it.
November 3 - 4:01 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Someone hijacked the office speaker and started playing "YMCA" immediately after the market closed. So there is, presumably, at least one Trump supporter among us.
November 3 - 3:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Not sure how legit these figures are, but in light of our last post on the same-day turnout...these numbers are interesting.
Per Biden campaign estimates Trump needs:— Dave Catanese (@davecatanese) November 3, 2020
-59% of E-Day vote in PENNSYLVANIA to win.
-56% of E-Day vote in FLORIDA to win.
-52% of E-Day vote in OHIO to win.
-49% of E-Day vote in Texas to win.
More estimates from Biden camp— Dave Catanese (@davecatanese) November 3, 2020
-62% of E-Day vote in NORTH CAROLINA to win.
-62% of E-Day vote in MICHIGAN to win.
-61% of E-Day vote in WISCONSIN to win.
-60% of E-Day vote in ARIZONA to win.
-57% of E-Day vote in GEORGIA to win.
November 3 - 2:45 p.m. ET -- Andrew
In an earlier post, I mentioned that we do have some data on early votes. In a separate post, we stressed the importance of Florida. There is a treasure trove of data from the Sunshine State available here in Google Docs form. But here are some things we find fascinating (though not necessarily predictive):
November 3 - 1:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew
We mentioned in our disclosure that we'd basically be doing this "as long as it takes." Some people really think that could be a while. Oh joy!
The New York Times spent precious space this morning warning readers of "a lengthy, vicious struggle." People in the media are quick to bemoan the partisanship and helplessness of the electorate. I don't know that articles like this really help. In fairness to the Times they weren't solely speaking on today's election so much as the ongoing political process. But still.
If you're looking for something more concise to focus on in the short term, Politico has this piece on eight states to keep an eye on tonight. In the interest of fair due process, I haven't read the article but it looks like something someone who knows something would write. Instead, I'll offer up two extremes of scenarios that would make tonight compelling (for those who want a quick, decisive outcome):
A Super-Duper Clean-Cut Biden Victory probably means strong results (and full results should be available from these states) in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. If Biden sweeps those states (a possibility) call it a night and head to bed.
Things Get Interesting for Trump if he pulls out the four states above and gets strong results somewhere in the upper midwest.
What about Pennsylvania? Much has been made of the commonwealth and birthplace of American independence. The electoral importance of PA and the anticipated slowness in a final vote count (they can't even start counting mail-ins until today) makes it a sexy talking point. Frankly, I think the Pennsylvania Board of Tourism has arranged for slow results so as to make it the talk of the Union, but that's just me. The reality is if either of the two scenarios above come to fruition, Pennsylvania may not matter all that much.
Don't Mess with Texas. This is purely conjecture, but much has been made of Texas' early turnout and the potential of Texas being a swing state. However, according to reported Biden internal polling, Trump can win Texas with just 49% of the vote at the polls today. Given that Republicans are significantly more likely to vote on election day, that seems like a relatively low bar to clear.
November 3 - 12:30 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Much has been made of voter suppression and fraudulent voting tactics. To use some stereotyping to simplify (get used to that), Democrats cry foul over perceived efforts to suppress the vote. Republicans throw a flag at perceived voter fraud. Those stories are going to remain at the forefront of the national conversation, because no matter how many people vote or how they vote...nothing in American Politics can ever be pretty.
Locally, it seems some calls against day-of voter suppression may be misguided. Per reports, voting is going very smoothly in Fulton County (Atlanta) where problems with lines have often previously existed.
There is not a single voting line in Fulton County, GA longer than 30 minutes. Election Director Richard Barron says this website is accurate. pic.twitter.com/GOkzGnBNyH— Charlie Gile (@CharlieGileNBC) November 3, 2020
November 3 - 12:00 p.m. ET -- Andrew
Let's start with what we know and where we stand. Here are some quick-hitters:
We're going to try to stay apolitical in this, but it's political content by nature. So for now, here's something we can all agree on: More people voting is a good thing. You might not like how people vote, but approval of lawmakers is even lower than approval of the president (who is pretty low in approval as measured by historical context). So, more people having a voice is, at least in theory, a good thing.
November 3 - 8:30 a.m. ET -- Andrew
Recap video of this morning's daily market briefing
Vice President, Portfolio Manager
Andrew’s career with Narwhal began as an intern during the summers of 2008 and 2009. He was hired in a full-time capacity in 2011. Andrew enjoys a multifaceted role and splits his time between portfolio management, client engagement, operations and compliance. Andrew serves on the Advisory Board for the Mercer University Student Managed Investment Fund and completed the Charles Schwab Executive Leadership Program as a member of the 2019 class. Andrew and his wife Amanda live nearby in Marietta with their two kids.
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