Ray Fair did not release a forecast update from his presidential vote equation in late April due to the uncertainties regarding the GDP figures for the second and third quarter, which are inputs to his model. Fair wrote on his website:
I did not make an economic forecast with my US model this time because the model has nothing to say about the effects of pandemics. I could try to subjectively constant adjust the estimated equations, but this would only be guessing. So I am going to let the user decide what values of G and P to use.Ray Fair, April 29, 2020
PollyVote thus decided to use the estimates from the second quarter survey of professional forecasters conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In this survey, published today, the consensus of 42 forecasters was that the Q2 economy will drop at an annual rate of 32.2%, and rebound in Q3 (+10.6%).
Entering these values in Fair’s tool to compute vote predictions yields a forecast of 54.2% of the two-party vote for the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and 45.8% for President Trump. This is a dramatic change from the previous forecast from January 30, which predicted more or less the opposite result (54.4% Trump vs. 45.6% Biden).
As can be seen in the following chart, this change is also noticeable in the combined PollyVote, which registered an almost 1-point drop in Trump’s predicted two-party vote share.