Biden Lengthens His Lead, Is Media Exposure a Good or Bad Thing? Biden Sentiment Even Higher

August 12, 2020

In this update, Biden’s lead lengthens, media exposure can be a double-edged blade, and a pattern on Biden’s sentiment chart suggests a breakout higher. Read more below.

Key takeaways

Biden back to winning by 308 to 230 After all the gaffes, is more publicity actually worse for the presidential candidates? A technical pattern on Biden’s sentiment chart suggests a sharp rise on the horizon

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Joe Biden’s chance of winning the election has increased to an all-time high of 97.8%, according to our election forecasting model, and were an election held tomorrow, the presumptive Democrat nominee would win by 308 vs 230 electoral votes.

These are optimal outcomes from a range, which for Biden lies between 279 - 347 and between 191 - 259 for Trump.

The change has come about mostly as a result of Biden edging back into the lead in New Hampshire, after temporarily falling behind last week, as a result of a fall in news sentiment for Donald Trump.

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Whilst our model is showing the gap widening, other valuable sources of data are showing a more complex picture.

Online betting sites are widely considered an important source of data by political analysts and are even, by some, considered more accurate at forecasting the winner than official opinion polls.

Betting website Predictit is one of those that is highly thought of, and it is showing Trump’s chances of winning have actually improved slightly recently.

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“There is only one thing worst than being talked about...And that is not being talked about.” Oscar Wilde.

Usually, the oxygen of publicity is beneficial, however, in the case of the two 2020 presidential election candidates, the opposite may be the case.

Take the recent interview with Joe Biden in which he was so outraged to be asked whether he would take a cognitive test that he retaliated by asking whether the reporter himself had taken a drug test, before being allowed to interview him, and then whether he was a “junkie”.

The incident went viral on August 5 and was followed by a steep fall in Biden news sentiment, as measured by our platform.

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The tall blue bars at the bottom of the chart show a high story count but it was accompanied by a similar fall in sentiment - quite clearly in this case the increased publicity was not positive.

Donald Trump has had his moments too - as when his approval ratings took a sharp drop after he recommended people inject themselves with bleach as a protection against the novel coronavirus.

It is perhaps no coincidence that it was around the same time Trump’s ratings decoupled from the S&P-500 (which continued recovering whilst his ratings fell), something that was highlighted in a recent infographic produced by our insights team.

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These incidents beg the question of whether less - not more - news is actually more beneficial for these two candidates.

We can get a rough idea of whether this might be the case by downloading and comparing daily Media Attention and Polling data from the election monitor.

The graph below shows the correlation between Joe Biden’s daily Media Attention and Poll results over time.

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The slanting upward angle of the best-fit line suggests that despite the damage from his “junkie” gaff, overall Biden tends to actually benefit from increased media attention - putting pay to remarks that the less he says, the better.

Can the same be said of Trump? Looking at his scatter plot of the same two metrics, it seems that if anything, the opposite is true, with publicity actually possibly harming Trump’s poll ratings - although the relationship is statistically tenuous and whether there is any direct correlation is debatable.

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Sometimes patterns appear in news analytics data that you would normally only expect to find in financial markets.

One such pattern is forming at the moment on the time-series of Joe Biden’s news sentiment data, and it strongly suggests his sentiment may breakout in a volatile spike higher, perhaps relatively soon.

In this case, the pattern is a triangle. These patterns usually occur before the final move higher in an uptrend.

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Triangles represent the lull before the storm when volatility gets progressively shorter leading up to an eventual violent breakout.

This is also an example of what is known as a right-angled triangle in which one of the sides is flat - in this case, the upper edge. In the case of these sorts of triangles, the breakout usually happens in that direction of the flat edge, which means higher. It is intriguing to consider what might cause such a move assuming it happens...

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