The second and final presidential debate was a far different affair than the prize fight in September. Relatively polite and respectful, well moderated by Kristen Welker, it provided voters with serious policy choices between President Trump and challenger Joe Biden on crime, immigration, the economy, the energy industry, and several other topics. Surprisingly heavy on political substance, there were zingers aplenty and quotes we will see repeatedly in campaign ads over the next twelve days. Can one debate change the trajectory of the election? Join FXStreet senior analysts Yohay Elam and Joseph Trevisani for the complete skinny.

Yohay Elam: President Donald Trump and Vice-President Joe Biden have had their last major event of the campaign – the debate. It has been regarded by all as a more civilized affair than the first clash. The incumbent has been trailing in pre-encounter polls. Have his reelection chances improved?

Joseph Trevisani: I would have to say yes...it was a superior performance by Trump. But how much is the question? We won't know until the election.

Yohay Elam:  I think the bar was extremely low for him. He set it low in the first debate.

Joseph Trevisani: Biden made a number of glaring errors, he looks weak and confused at times, particularly at the end.

Yohay Elam: I doubt it is enough, as also Biden improved his performance.

Joseph Trevisani: There was no game-changer, no knock-out. We will get post-debate polls early next week that could provide some answers.

Joseph Trevisani: At one point Trump said, referring to criminal justice reform, You had eight years, why didn't you get it done?  Biden's response was We had a Republican Congress.  Trump responded You convince them, Joe, that's what I did.

Yohay Elam: This comes at a time when Trump has no backing from his Republican Senators on the stimulus bill. He even acknowledged it speaking with reporters a few days ago. I think Biden's short answer, followed by a pause, conveyed confidence. In Obama's first two years, with full control, they got Obamacare, which has become popular and Trump is taking the unpopular position of wanting to abolish when millions are losing their healthcare and when there's a pandemic that is hitting new records in the US.

Joseph Trevisani: I agree there was no knockout...but there almost never is in these events.  Trump was very effective and clearly dominated the debate.  Biden's errors especially on the oil industry, fracking, Obamacare, and the  Hunters shenanigans in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere are certain to appear in Trump campaign ads in the next 12 days.

Yohay Elam: Trump doesn't have enough money for ads. It was easier to stick corruption to Hillary Clinton, but it doesn't work for Biden. I think the Hunter stories are good for the base, but going back to the base and failing to expand his support could prove a losing strategy for Trump.

Joseph Trevisani: I imagine the Biden campaign hopes, promising to end the oil industry and fracking will not play well in Pennslyvania and the mid-West. Surprisingly, in that I had low expectations, I thought it was excellent and useful exposure and beneficial for voters still undecided.

Yohay Elam: It was indeed far more informative.

Joseph Trevisani: Second terms are a judgment on the incumbent.

.Yohay Elam: Indeed

Joseph Trevisani: As the should be.

Yohay Elam: Trump is sui generis, as you said. He dominates the scene and raves on rage, as he said. I think that most people have an opinion on him, positive or negative.

Joseph Trevisani: Seriously.  I was impressed at his discipline, command of facts, and ability to dominate without being rude.  It was a masterful performance.  Will it suffice for reelection? To resort to cliche, we'll know in 12 days. We hope.

Yohay Elam: His claim about being the least racist person in the room and only possibly being second to Abraham Lincoln in helping African-Americans didn't sound convincing. I think he benefited from the muted microphone. Even if he won the debate – something which is not reflected in instant polls – I think there are few undecideds.

Joseph Trevisani: Perhaps, but the facts of record low employment for Blacks and Hispanics before COVID are true and the recitation of his administration's accomplishments in economic improvement and assistance was effective. Instant polls reflect the audience. But I agree.  It is hard to tell what impact the debate will have but in general, they do not win elections.

Yohay Elam: 50 million Americans have already voted 36.5% of the total 2016 turnout. 2020 turnout will likely be higher.

Joseph Trevisani: I expect it will.

Yohay Elam: Perhaps there are more undecideds among the late voters.

Joseph Trevisani: That would seem logical. The amount of early voting is at records.  I think we can assume most of those are the committed voters, the base.

Yohay Elam: Back in 2016, there were around 20% undecideds.

Joseph Trevisani: Pretty understandable considering the candidates in 2016.

Yohay Elam: Both were disliked, Trump offered something new. To drain the swamp. Now he's a politician, so his charge against Biden of being a politician didn't ring. Especially as Biden is running as a "return to normal" candidate. Choosing science over fiction.

Joseph Trevisani: There I disagree.   Biden is nothing if he is not a creature of Washington. He has never had a job except for politics, and he has been in DC 47 years.  Several of Trump's most effective moments played on that, as he repeatedly asked, Why he hadn't done any of the things he was promising already.

Yohay Elam: I agree that these were Trump's best moments, though Obamacare, which Biden was part of, is an achievement more Americans support.

Joseph Trevisani: It will take a few days for the polling, for what it's worth, to catch up.  I imagine Trump will get a boost.

Yohay Elam: And the election is about Trump's presidency more than Biden's record.

Joseph Trevisani: True.

Yohay Elam: We'll see about the bump. The main events are over. Back in 2016, the Comey letter shook up the race. Any October surprise that you can foresee this time?

Joseph Trevisani: We will see if the MSM can maintain their embargo, essentially censorship, of the payola scandal. The WSJ  ran a column about to say as I think Dow Jones Newswires.

Yohay Elam: I don't think those baseless allegations will stick. Maybe to Clinton, where the Republican hate machine worked for 20 years, but not on Biden, who seems like Teflon. As he said, it's about character, and people believe him. His favorability ratings were unharmed by the story.

Joseph Trevisani: But also many voters may, even if they hear about it, may just consider it as normal campaign rhetoric.

Yohay Elam: There is longing for normality. Trump managed to make people forget about one scandal with another. The nails turned into a walkable nail bed. Until they didn't. His actions accumulated and reached a critical mass that is now untolerated by many. I think the 2018 elections show the enthusiasm to oust him.

Joseph Trevisani: Obama and the Democrats lost heavily in 2010, but he was reelected.

Yohay Elam: That's a good point. And polls underestimated Obama in 2012, so maybe polls are underestimating Dems this time.

Joseph Trevisani: Sometimes I like to quote William Goldman the screenwriter... Nobody knows anything" thought he was referring to the movie industry.

Yohay Elam: We'll know something on election night, as counting in Florida is already underway.

Joseph Trevisani: And Trump in 2016...

Yohay Elam: And then we'll have a "5K race after a marathon" with long days until the final tally arrives. In 2016 the result came out on election night, this time it will take longer. Plenty of coffee stacked.

Joseph Trevisani: Perhaps. No perhaps on the coffee though.

Yohay Elam: When will we have enough post-debate polls, Monday, Tuesday?

Joseph Trevisani: I would think so.  There is nothing out so far but instant polls that are eyecatching but worthless.

Yohay Elam: What matters is voting intentions, not opinions about the debate, except our opinions of course.

Joseph Trevisani: The debate was surprisingly substantive. At the end that may have more impact than we think.

Yohay Elam: Low expectations, strong surprise.

Joseph Trevisani: There were clear choices in policies and ideas about the US, its culture, and the economy. People take voting seriously.

Yohay Elam: Yep, they do, but US political campaigns are extremely long.

Joseph Trevisani: Truly.

Yohay Elam: Some presidential candidates announce their decision to run some 20 months before the general elections. And the incumbent is in power for nearly four years. I understand most people are not news addicts, but those that choose a healthy life and are disconnected most of the time are few and far between.

Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers. The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page.

If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The author has not received compensation for writing this article, other than from FXStreet.

FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors, omissions or any losses, injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use. Errors and omissions excepted.

The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

Feed news Join Telegram

Recommended Content


Recommended Content

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD extends slide toward mid-1.0200s after US data

EUR/USD extends slide toward mid-1.0200s after US data

EUR/USD continues to decline toward 1.0250 during the American trading hours on Friday. After the data published by the UOM showed that the long-run inflation outlook rose to 3% in August from 2.9% in July, the dollar gathered strength against its rivals, weighing on the pair.

EUR/USD News

GBP/USD pushes lower 1.2100 on broad dollar strength

GBP/USD pushes lower 1.2100 on broad dollar strength

GBP/USD is trading deep in negative territory near 1.2100 during the American session on Friday. With the UoM's Consumer Sentiment Survey pointing to a modest increase in the long-run inflation outlook, the US Dollar Index extended its rally, reflecting a broad dollar strength.

GBP/USD News

Gold clings to modest gains above $1,790

Gold clings to modest gains above $1,790

Gold stays relatively resilient on Friday and trades modestly higher on the day above $1,790. Although the greenback continues to outperform its rivals on the latest US data, falling US Treasury bond yields help XAU/USD hold in positive territory.

Gold News

Shiba Inu ready to go ballistic: Shiba Eternity released in Vietnam

Shiba Inu ready to go ballistic: Shiba Eternity released in Vietnam

Shytoshi Kusama, the project leader of Shiba Inu announced the launch of Shiba Eternity for Vietnamese players. The game is available for testing and the team has asked users for their review. 

Read more

FXStreet Premium users exceed expectations

FXStreet Premium users exceed expectations

Tap into our 20 years Forex trading experience and get ahead of the markets. Maximize our actionable content, be part of our community, and chat with our experts. Join FXStreet Premium today!

BECOME PREMIUM

Majors

Cryptocurrencies

Signatures