Wall Street expects a Trump win in 2020, but a new poll points to a different outcome

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Democratic candidate for President Joe Biden shakes hands as he leaves after speaking at a campaign event on June 4, 2019 in Concord, NH.

Nancy Lane | Boston Herald | MeidaNews Group | Getty Images

It may be time for Wall Street to recalibrate expectations about the 2020 election.

In a survey of institutional investors this spring, more than 70% told RBC Capital Markets they expect President Donald Trump to win a second term in 2020. But a new national poll of voters Tuesday points toward a different outcome.

The Quinnipiac University poll showed the top Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, leading Trump by a double-digit margin in a potential 2020 matchup. But it also found that five other Democratic contenders – every one the poll pitted against Trump – leading the president as well.

Biden, who plans to blast Trump in a speech Tuesday night as both politicians campaign in Iowa, held the largest lead, 53%-40%. He built it with decided advantages among women, independents, college-educated whites, nonwhites and young voters.

Yet self-described Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recorded an edge almost as large. He led Trump by 51%-42%.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts led Trump by 49% to 42%. Sen. Kamala Harris of California led the incumbent by 49%-41%.

Even lesser-known Democratic candidates – South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and first-term New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker – ran ahead of the president by a margin beyond the poll’s 3.7 percentage point margin for error. Each drew 47%, to Trump’s 42%.

That strong Democratic edge in potential 2020 contests came despite a slight uptick in Trump’s approval rating and continued satisfaction with the state of the economy. Forty-two percent of Americans approve of his performance as president, up from 38% last month. Seven in 10 call the state of the economy “excellent” or “good.’

At the same time, only 4 in 10 say Trump deserves credit for the state of the economy. And after months of slowing growth and tariff turmoil that has roiled financial markets, the proportion of Americans who see the economy getting better has fallen to 39% from 45% last August.

The election remains 17 months away, leaving ample time for Trump’s political fortunes to improve. Polls throughout 2016, of course, indicated that Hillary Clinton would defeat him for the presidency then.

But Biden’s advantage flashes a particularly bright danger sign for the incumbent. Voters have grown deeply familiar with both men.

The former vice president first must survive the crowded fight for the Democratic nomination. The Quinnipiac poll showed his early bump after entering the race has faded; Biden draws 30% of the Democratic vote, down from 38% in late April, compared with 19% for Sanders, 14% for Warren, 8% for Buttigieg and 7% for Harris.

At the moment, the septuagenarians atop their parties remain focused on each other. Pre-released excepts show that Biden on Tuesday night plans to call Trump “an existential threat” to the U.S.

As he left the White House for Iowa, Trump used a simpler epithet. “Joe Biden is a dummy,” he said.

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