Determining the balance of power

When voters head to the polls in November, collectively they'll cast ballots not just for the president, but also for the entire House of Representatives and about a third of the Senate.

Who’s in control now?

The balance of power in Congress is currently split, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives and Republicans holding a slim majority in the Senate.



Are changes on the horizon?

In the House, recent polling averages show just 50 seats that are either toss-ups or close matches. For the House to switch to a Republican majority, the GOP would need to win 38 of those 50 contests—an uphill battle, to be sure.


A reversal of fortunes in the Senate appears more likely, where the Democrats stand a good chance of regaining control. Only 2 of the 12 Democrats up for reelection appear to be in competitive races; Republicans, meanwhile, face stiff competition for 10 of the 23 seats they seek to retain or fill. If Democrats flip 4 of those seats, they’d gain a majority in the Senate.

Sources:,, as of September 4, 2020. 


The road to the White House

The real story this fall, of course, is the contest for the presidency. While there are many factors that will come into play, one proxy for President Trump’s chances of retaining the White House is his approval rating. Looking back at the past six times a sitting president has run for reelection, those with ratings better than 40% have won second terms; those below that threshold have not.



Want more detail? See President Trump's most current and historical approval ratings here.



Home field advantage?


While Trump’s approval ratings suggest Democrat challenger Joe Biden has an opening, it’s also true that 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.


Source:, as of September 4, 2020. 

How has the stock market performed under different administrations? 

Despite the unknowns in November, 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. 


Source:, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as of September 4, 2020. 

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Latest Podcasts

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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