How will Impeachment Impact the Democratic Presidential Primary Race? MarketPredict Investigates
While the impeachment inquiry of President Trump continues, we’ve seen a marked drop in media coverage of the Democratic Presidential Primary Race. Joe Biden, who is currently leading the race, is frequently mentioned in coverage of the ongoing impeachment proceedings. How will this shift in media attention affect the race? Will Republicans’ attempt to focus on Biden in the impeachment proceedings hurt his candidacy? We turn to MarketPredict, an analytics platform capable of answering these questions, to forecast the likely impact of impeachment on the Democratic Presidential Primary. As a bonus we will evaluate the impact of Tom Steyer and his nine-figure advertising budget’s race impact.
Impeachment Impact on Vote Share
One of the big advantages to MarketPredict is its ability to simulate the impact of complicated events like an impeachment inquiry. Even a cursory glance at Google Trends, one of MarketPredict’s earned media sources, shows just how much earned media is being soaked up by impeachment:
Figure 1: Google Trends Last 90 Days, Select Candidates/Impeachment
By projecting this crowding out of earned media from the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary and including it in our modeling, we can get a good idea of the likely impact on vote share for the first four States:
Figure 2: MarketPredict Results on 2020 Democratic Primary, First Four States
It’s pretty clear that Biden is the overall beneficiary here, especially in the first three States on the election calendar. Biden seems to be getting a double boost, first from earned media being diverted to the impeachment inquiry instead of the primary race and second from Republicans redirecting impeachment conversation toward Biden’s actions whilst he was Vice President. Generally, it looks like Biden and Buttigieg, the two perceived moderates in the democratic field, are benefiting whereas the perceived progressives, Warren and Sanders, are losing ground.
It’s worth noting that South Carolina provides an exception to the rule, showing both Buttigieg and Biden losing ground to Sanders and Warren. After digging into these results, it’s clear these results are a bit misleading due to (1) quite dated polling out of South Carolina with the most recent poll evaluated for this analysis ending October 21 and (2) the particularly strong lead Biden has enjoyed in the State and MarketPredict correctly assuming races becoming more competitive as their Election approaches. In short it is likely that South Carolina will eventually show the impeachment inquiry benefiting moderate candidates, but not yet.
Bonus Round: Tom Steyer’s Political Spend Impact
Normally we would not evaluate a candidate like Tom Steyer. We like to focus on candidates with a high chance of victory and, in all fairness to Tom Steyer, his odds of electoral success remain slim. Still, Steyer has entered the race with a nine-figure political budget for just the Primary race, outspending all other candidates up to this point. MarketPredict was curious to learn just what someone with almost no name ID, but almost unlimited cash, could accomplish in such a wide Democratic field. Tom Steyer presents such an opportunity.
First, Steyer has gained vote share with his political spend. Most recent polling indicates Steyer sits somewhere between 2.5% and 4% in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. In a candidate field that still numbers into the mid-teens, Steyer has risen above over half and sometimes two-thirds of the field.
How much has Steyer’s spend helped him maneuver in front of these candidates, many of which have served in state-wide office for decades?
Figure 3: MarketPredict Results for Tom Steyer’s Political Spend Impact on Vote Share
What we see in Figure 3 is the forecasted vote share for Tom Steyer in the first four Democratic Primary States assuming he maintains his current political spend share up until voting day. One thing that stands out is that Steyer is expected to get between 4% and 11% of the vote in these early states should he retain his current spend share versus other candidates. That’s pretty good for a candidate that entered the race with virtually no name ID. Another thing that stands out is how difficult it is to move voters off of Steyer once they’ve committed to him. Even if Steyer drops his spend to 10% of his current level, he’s expected to get about 7% of the vote in Nevada. One can only imagine the vote share impact if one of the top tier candidates could match Steyer’s spend.
We are venturing into uncharted waters with an impeachment inquiry looking ever more likely to turn into an actual impeachment on the eve of an election year, and with the largest Democratic presidential candidate field since our modern version of primaries and caucuses began in 1972. It’s impossible to know with certainty what will ultimately happen, but hopefully some of the analysis above will help you prepare for what promises to be a wild election season!