Though President Donald Trump currently trails several leading Democratic candidates in early national polls, a research firm with a historically accurate model has him winning the 2020 election by a wide margin.
The Moody's model has predicted presidential elections with success since 1980 until its first miss in 2016. Like so many others, they predicted a Hillary Clinton win.
"In our post-mortem of the 2016 presidential election model, we determined that unexpected turnout patterns were one of the factors that contributed to the model's first incorrect election prediction," wrote Mark Zandi, Dan White and Bernard Yerbos of Moody's Analytics.
"The model did not account for the individual attributes of the candidates other than whether they belonged to the incumbent political party. In other words, it assumed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were generic candidates, which they were not," the research firm concluded.
Moody's uses three models to come up with its forecast; in each case, Trump gets at least 289 Electoral College votes.
The "pocketbook" measure focuses on three economic variables: the change in gas prices, the change in house prices, and changes in personal income. This is where Trump shines brightest, grabbing a whopping 351 electoral votes.
"If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition," the report said.
The "stock market" model relies on fewer economic variables than the pocketbook model and is the least favorable model for Trump, but it still currently predicts a victory for the president. Meanwhile, the "unemployment model" predicts a more comfortable win for Trump than the stock market model.
Moody's Analytics may have missed on the previous election but an economic analysis released in 2016 by the research firm forecasting Trump's presidency has largely come true.
"Broadly, Mr. Trump's economic proposals will result in a more isolated U.S. economy. Cross-border trade and immigration will be significantly diminished, and with less trade and immigration, foreign direct investment will also be reduced," Mark Zandi, Chris Lafakis, Dan White and Adam Ozimek wrote in the report.
The report also determined that Trump's plans would hit the middle class the hardest while high-income earners would benefit the most from his tax breaks, concluding with a simplified overview.
"Even allowing for some variability in the accuracy of the economic modeling and underlying assumptions that drive the analysis, four basic conclusions regarding the impact of Mr. Trump's economic proposals can be reached: 1) they will result in a less global U.S. economy; 2) they will lead to larger government deficits and more debt; 3) they will largely benefit very high-income households; and 4) they will result in a weaker U.S. economy, with fewer jobs and higher unemployment."
The authors of the report, however, warned that quantifying the real estate mogul's economic policies was "complicated by their lack of specificity."
Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, also acknowledged that sometimes numbers can't control the outcome.
"It could be that this election may be so out of bounds with history that the models just aren't going to work," said Zandi.
"It could turn out this thing runs on a dynamic you just can't model."