Determining the balance of power

The incoming Biden/Harris administration may face an uphill battle to make major policy changes.


A split Congress looks likely

The balance of power in Congress is tilting toward gridlock, but the final tally has yet to be delivered.


Senate seat breakdown
House of Representatives seat breakdown

Change may still be on the horizon

In the House, the most recent results show that Democrats retain control while Republicans gained some seats. For the House to switch to a Republican majority, the GOP needed to win 38 of 50 contests—which they did not do.


A reversal of fortunes in the Senate, where the Democrats were thought to have a good chance of regaining control, currently appears unlikely but not impossible. Given the tightness of certain senatorial contests, we will need to wait for runoff elections in Georgia to determine the final result.

Source: Wall Street Journal, as of November 6, 2020.

Pull quote: The House remains in Democrats' control, but by a slimmer margin. The Senate is currently tilting toward Republicans, but the contest may continue in Georgia runoffs.

The road to the White House

November 3, 2020, proved to be a tight contest. While popular vote tallies undisputedly favored Biden by a significant margin, the battle for electoral college votes was challenging for both candidates. Although the contentiousness of the political contest may continue to spawn disagreement and legal challenges, the electoral balance shifted decisively to Biden/Harris as vote counts progressed after election day, putting the Democrats on a clear path to assuming executive power in January.

Source: Wall Street Journal, as of November 9, 2020.

Road to the White House


Home field advantage?

White House

Incumbents have generally had a home field advantage. History shows that voters’ presidential preferences have been cyclical: It’s been uncommon for the White House to be occupied by either party for just one term—and it’s been just as uncommon for it to remain in one party’s control for more than two terms.

Table: How the party in the White House has fared in presidential elections

Source:, as of November 6, 2020. 

How has the stock market performed under different administrations? 

Despite the unknowns we continue to face in the aftermath of the 2020 election, investors can take confidence in the fact that the stock market has always been much more a reflection of the country's economic prospects than its political tenor. Over the past 40 years, two Democratic administrations topped the list of the best market environments, although the market has generally shown resilience regardless of which party occupies the White House. 

Table: How the stock market performed under different administrations

Source:, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as of September 4, 2020. Past performance is not indicative of future results. 

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Quotes on the election

Latest Podcasts

Co-Chief Investment Strategists Emily R. Roland, CIMA, and Matthew D. Miskin, CFA, give their initial take on the U.S. election results, how the stock market is reacting, and the potential impact for the economy. Like 2016, the polls were way off, but a stock market indicator during election years hinted at a much closer presidential race. The strategists also discuss which sectors of the market and economy they see performing best over the next four years, the outlook for fiscal stimulus and U.S. Treasury yields, and why they’re doubling down on balanced portfolios with a high-quality tilt. 

Co-Chief Investment Strategists Emily Roland and Matt Miskin weigh in on the recent market volatility and what investors should focus on in the weeks leading up to the crucial U.S. election. The strategists also update host John Bryson on what the latest economic data is hinting about the growth trajectory during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Emily and Matt share their highest-conviction ideas for the equity and fixed-income markets, the outlook for the U.S. Federal Reserve, and what credit spreads and currency markets are forecasting for the markets.

Thomas Mucha, geopolitical strategist for Wellington Management, offers an expert and timely opinion of what to look for in November, and how markets may react in various election scenarios. The veteran political and macroeconomic analyst tells host John Bryson which polls and battleground states he’s watching and how the COVID-19 pandemic may figure into the upcoming elections. Finally, Mucha provides insight into sectors that could be most affected by which party controls the White House and Congress, and why climate change and U.S.-China relations are among the top challenges he sees for the global economy and markets.

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