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Trump or Biden? Refinitiv and Reuters, unbeatable for U.S. Election 2020 coverage

Richard Mably
Richard Mably
Head of News Performance, Refinitiv
Jonathan Leff
Jonathan Leff
Global Editor, Financial News Strategy at Reuters

If you like your news stories turbulent and unpredictable, this one’s for you. The President of the United States declines to commit to a peaceful transition of power in the event he loses the U.S. election. The President nominates a conservative judge to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court after the death of a renowned liberal justice. Revelations are published about Donald Trump’s long-sought-after taxes. The first televised debate between Trump and challenger Joe Biden descends into chaos. The President of the United States tests positive for coronavirus. All in the space of ten days.

This has already been a massive year for unscheduled news. Coronavirus, the most profound of unscheduled events, triggered the biggest moves in financial markets and economic data in history. Now we’re heading into a major scheduled set-piece that even coronavirus couldn’t derail: the presidential election on Nov. 3, an event of great consequence for financial markets in the United States and around the world.


  1. The U.S. election: A scheduled event packed full of surprises.
  2. Trump and Biden at odds across wide range of policy.
  3. Market worries about possible delay to election result.

This may be a scheduled event, but little about the news in recent days has been of the expected variety. To aid navigation through this torrent of information, Refinitiv and Reuters are working closely together to deliver the news and data that matters most to the financial community, in a way that you can trust.

Republican Trump and his Democratic challenger Biden are at odds on policy differences across a range of issues that matter for investors: how to handle further fiscal stimulus to combat coronavirus; tighter financial industry regulation or further deregulation; corporate tax rates; tax rates on high earners; climate diplomacy and green investment; regulation of social media companies; trade with China and trade post-Brexit with the UK; energy policy; foreign policy; healthcare; racial justice and immigration.

Voters’ opinion of the state of the U.S. economy and how to handle coronavirus and the economic response to the pandemic are crucial. Democrats and Republicans rarely see eye to eye on infrastructure, fiscal policy and healthcare spending – now they differ too on how to help the victims of COVID-19, how to tackle yawning racial and regional wealth gaps exposed by the pandemic and how the Federal Reserve should help.

U.S Election Polling

Biden now has a 10-point lead over Trump, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Sunday. He has held at least an 8-point advantage in the past eight national polls by Reuters/Ipsos dating back to early September.

Most Americans continue to be deeply worried about coronavirus, and the poll found that 65%, including 9 in 10 registered Democrats and 5 in 10 registered Republicans, agreed that “if President Trump had taken coronavirus more seriously, he probably would not have been infected.”

Of those polled, 57% said they disapproved of Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic overall, up about 3 points from a poll that ran a week before.

But state polls show that Trump is not trailing Biden by much in the battlegrounds that will decide the election, including swing states Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.

Most people appear to have made up their minds. Eighty-seven percent of likely voters said they were now “completely certain” about their choice for president, according to the Reuters poll.

But the results from mail-in ballots after Nov. 3 and the possibility of legal challenges if the race is close may complicate the election and mean uncertainty about who has won for days or even weeks.

Reuters polling found that 51% said they planned to vote before the election, either by mail or in person at early voting locations, and 6% said they had already voted.

How are markets reacting?

What do financial markets make of all this? Trading desks were surprised twice in 2016 when Britain voted to leave the European Union and when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Uncertainty about whether the election will provide a decisive, uncontested result has been reflected in a rise in the U.S. stock market’s Vix index – a measure of market volatility — around Nov. 3. That got bigger after President Trump declined to confirm he would concede to Biden in an orderly transition if he lost the election.

Reuters reported on Weds Sep. 30 that global banks are preparing for the possibility that there will be no clear victor on the night of the election, a scenario that could spark days or weeks of chaos in global equities and fixed income markets.

Major banks have run simulations to ensure they could cope with a spike in market, liquidity and credit risks, and have been advising clients on precautionary hedges and capital raising strategies if a contested election result on Nov. 3 leads funding markets to dry up.

But by Friday Oct. 2, news of Trump’s positive COVID-19 test had triggered a shift in gears by banks and investors now expecting a greater chance of a Biden victory, Reuters reported from bankers and investors. Trump’s illness had shifted the election focus back towards the pandemic and away from the U.S. economy, a signature policy for Trump on which he had led Biden in approval ratings.

Source: Refinitiv

One senior capital markets banker said that their institution was still stress testing for all scenarios, but that it had tilted the focus of the simulations more towards a clear Biden victory and what that would entail in terms of volatility and hedging strategies.

Fair, Independent, Relevant, Fast

When it comes to the intersection of politics and business, no other organization covers news for financial professionals like Reuters — and in a way you can trust.

Download a Guide to Reuters Coverage of the 2020 United States Presidential Election

With the debate over fake news at the heart of the election, “trust” is the watchword for reporting on this most divisive of stories.

Reuters takes great care to maintain it’s hard won and long-standing reputation for unbiased news in the selection, reporting and editing of stories. Personal opinions are left at the door of the (virtual) office; reporting is evidence-based, reporters seek fair comment from all sides; the subject of any investigation is made fully aware of the facts.

Download the Handbook of Journalism by Reuters to discover their standards and values

The 2020 election brings together all of the ingredients that make Reuters’ political coverage second-to- none and adds several new elements that will give Refinitiv customers unique speed and insight on the global implications of the vote.

Reuters is already delivering a stream of original, in-depth reporting to help traders, investors, analysts and asset managers frame the election for their own work. What will this mean for the economy and fiscal policy? How will a change in environmental policy impact the future of energy? What kind of investment strategies are likely to be favored if there is a change in the White House? Will a Biden presidency change the game for Wall Street?

For energy policy alone, a joint Refinitiv-Reuters webcast this week heard how a change in administration would have an impact on U.S. policy with oil producers Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia and leading oil consumer China. A switch to Biden would also have affect climate diplomacy, renewables investment and U.S. oil and gas production, speakers said.

Reuters has partnered with pollster Ipsos to provide leading edge, in-depth polling on the national election, with weekly updates to help you make sense of the latest numbers. Just looking for a snapshot of the day’s highlights? Look no further than 2020 U.S. ELECTION: What you need to know right now, a regular daily update on the campaign trail for the day ahead, available on Reuters News.

On election night, Reuters will leverage the full might of one of the world’s biggest global newsrooms to bear as the state-by-state results begin to emerge – a process that may be more complicated than ever before due to the surge in by-mail voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a country where every major network will be making independent ‘calls’ on the likely outcome of each state race, Reuters will be ready to give you the first and best of those decisions. And this year, for the first time in a presidential election, Reuters will be the only wire service to deliver real-time alerts based on industry benchmark National Election Pool (NEP) exit polling.

As the results roll in, Reuters will have more than a dozen reporters focused solely on delivering up-to-the-second alerts on every twist and turn on the road to an electoral college majority. Many more will be on the ground as the voting happens, ready to bring you urgent news, video and pictures. And still more, in the United States and around the world, will be explaining what the result means for industries, markets and the world. They will be explaining how traders and investors are reacting, at the global-macro level [MKTS/GLOB] and within individual instruments and markets, from stocks [STXBZ] to foreign exchanges [FXBUZ] to commodities [O/R].

For an investor, navigating all of this is not easy. Our Election app [USPOL] makes it simple. Curation of exclusive access to Reuters news and best-in-class data will keep our clients ahead of the game in a one-stop shop. The app provides a combination of trusted news, charts and data.

The app includes:

  • News and news graphics curated by Reuters and Refinitiv
  • Real-time news alerts from the National Election Pool’s exit polling via Reuters, exclusive to Refinitiv for the financial industry
  • A daily summary from Reuters of the important stories and plans for the election trail for the day ahead: 2020 U.S. ELECTION-What you need to know right now
  • Policy differences between the two candidates outlined by Reuters.
  • National voter intention polls from Reuters/Ipsos plus polls for six battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina
  • Polls from Ipsos and Reuters on Trump vs Biden comparing the candidates across a range of policy issues
  • Reuters Breakingviews – Insight from a team of experienced financial commentators providing genuine insight and fresh ideas in near real-time.
  • Global Markets Forum – a place to interact with your peers and join the Reuters editorial-hosted Live Chats with political and industry experts on Refinitiv Messenger.
  • Charts from Datastream in collaboration with Fathom Consulting showcasing the data most relevant to the election
  • An election analysis by Fathom
  • National and swing state poll-of-polls voter opinion data from Real Clear Politics, widely recognized as the gold standard for U.S. political poll aggregation.
  • An Economic Dream Team selection by Breaking Views.

For a comprehensive overview on our election coverage, including updates on the Global Markets Forum, webinars, data insights and more follow our U.S. Election page.

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