Poll woes may prompt Biden to borrow Trump’s stock market tactics

Stock markets predict elections but maybe not this time as Americans are misinformed on reality

Should US president Joe Biden take a leaf out of Republican challenger Donald Trump’s playbook and start bigging up the S&P 500′s performance? A Harris-Guardian poll shows 49 per cent of Americans think stocks have fallen in 2024. In reality, the S&P 500 is at all-time highs, surging 12 per cent this year (its strongest start to date to an election year) and by 28 per cent over the last 12 months.

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Americans are also misinformed in other areas. Almost half believe unemployment is at 50-year highs when it is under 4 per cent and near 50-year lows. More than half think the US is in recession.

Republican supporters are especially likely (67 per cent) to think this, but so do many Democrats (49 per cent).

Ordinarily, the stock market predicts the election; when stocks do well, the incumbent tends to win. However, will 2024 be different, given many investors don’t appear to realise the economy is growing and stocks are in a bull market?


Trump’s incessant bragging about stock gains during his tenure was infuriating (the president’s impact on stock performance is slim) and risky (if you take the credit when stocks advance, you may be blamed if stocks decline). Nevertheless, the poll findings are worrying for Biden, who may need to do some stock market boasting of his own.

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O’Mahony, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes the weekly Stocktake column