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200 Days Until the 2024 Election

The 2024 election is only 200 days away, and it is a good time to start thinking about where the election stands and what to watch. Here are a few indicators and logistical items to debate at your next cocktail party:

Do Not Only Focus on Election Day: Of course, Election Day (November 5th gets all the attention), but many people vote before then.  The first two states (Minnesota and South Dakota) open early voting on September 20th -- 155 days from now -- and several others do the same the next day. Candidate efforts to influence voters will go down to the last minute that polls are open, but voters will start making decisions as much as a month and a half before then.

House Elections Favoring Democrats (at the moment): Democrats have fewer at-risk seats in the House of Representatives, but much can change and the margin is very thin between Democratic and Republican at-risk seats. This is one to watch as more races get attention and incumbents get more time back home in their congressional districts.    

Senate Elections Favoring Republicans (at the moment): Democrats have a much tougher hill to climb in the Senate this cycle, holding all five at-risk seats. With a very narrow majority in the Senate, this could be really good news for Republicans are are one seat away from the majority. That said, some of these races will be impacted by the top of the ticket and a lot can change in the next 200 days. 

The Money Game for Presidential Candidates Is Not a Good Indicator: Much more money will be raised by both sides before election day, but it will not necessarily be a good barometer for how the candidates will perform. Both have strong name ID and recent history shows money does not translate automatically to a win. When former President Trump won, he was outspent 2 to 1, including in key battleground states.  

Neither Candidate is Winning the Popularity Contest: Recent polling shows that 56% of voters disapprove of the job President Biden is doing and 53% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of former President Trump. This could have an impact around voter intensity when polls open and both candidates will work to get those numbers in a better position.  

Some Incumbent Metrics Are Worrisome: Approval rating for Congress is hovering around 15%, which means support for Congress (or a belief they are doing a good job) is significantly poor. This could be good news for challengers who are running against incumbents. 

It's Still About the Economy: Voters still focus more on the economy than any other issue...although voters do not agree on the current state of the economy, which will make things interesting on the campaign trail.  Regardless, look for the big economic talking points (jobs, inflation, debt, etc.) to remain at the front of the campaign agendas in the months to come.  

With 200 days left until election day, you still do not need to watch every political speech or closely monitor the social media accounts of every politician.  However, the campaign trail will begin to get much more active and voter communications will get louder, so you may not have the ability to ignore.  In the meantime, watch for some of the big trends that could have an impact -- the state of the economy, U.S. involvement overseas, immigration, etc.  


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