Polls Claim Clinton Win
Overnight saw the airing of the most watched televised US election debate in history, the first of three between candidates Trump and Clinton. The recent narrowing of polling between the two created even more intrigue for the debate which was largely perceived as a win for Clinton.
A CNN/ORC poll released after indicated that around 60% of viewers felt Clinton won the debate whilst only 30% saw Trump as having won the debate. Looking to the markets suggests a similar perception that Clinton won with the Mexican Peso having retreated from pre-debate lows in response to the event.
The Peso is widely seen as a sentiment gauge for the US elections with Trump strength weighing on the Peso and Clinton dominance seen supporting the currency.
Betting markets displayed a similar skew with odds of a Clinton win rising from around 60% pre-debate to around 70% post-debate.
The debate itself offered fairly little in the way of new context to the Presidential elections. In terms of economic issues both candidates espoused their opposing views with Trump reiterating his plans for sweeping tax reduction aimed at boosting economic growth whilst Clinton highlighted her intentions to raise taxes on the wealthy.
In terms of how the candidates appeared, Clinton was clearly the more prepared and calmer of the two with Trump appearing unprepared and restless. At times the debate veered away from merely discussing the issues to more personal attacks with Trump stating that Clinton “doesn’t have the stamina” to be President. Clinton was quick to point out her counterpart’s character flaws saying that “he has a long record of engaging in racist behaviour” and referring to his previous sexist comments that women are “pigs, slobs and dogs”.
In terms of point scoring around the issues, there were a few standout moments. Clinton Trump over his benefiting from the collapse of the housing market saying that “Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis” referring to a 2006 quote where Trump said, “gee, I hope it does collapse because I can go in and buy some and make some money”. However, Trump responded to the comment in typical style saying “That’s called business, by the way”.
Trump tried to use his anti-establishment perception to his advantage criticising Clinton for being a “typical politician; all talk no action”. Trump tried to establish a connection with the audience and drive a rift between them and Clinton saying that “Our country is suffering because people like Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and in terms of what is going on”.
Trump then furthered this sentiment when he attacked Clinton over her deleting of 33,000 emails during an investigation by the state department. Trump stated that “I will release my tax returns against my lawyer’s wishes when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted”. Trump’s comments provoked cheering from some in the crowd which had been silent up to that point.
Clinton responded questioning Trump’s ability to be diplomatic referring to comments Trump made regarding the case of Iranian sailors taunting US sailors where Trump said “if they taunted our sailors I’d blow them out of the water and start another war”. Clinton also referred to Trump’s comments regarding North Korea where he said that “China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea”.
Markets Await Next Round
In all the debate was a fairly muted affair which promises to see a more engaging second round in October. Clinton’s calm and measured approach saw her score more favourable among viewers and Trump’s erratic and hostile nature was again highlighted when Clinton used her favourite line that “ A man who could be provoked by a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button”.
For now, risk markets are deriving support from Trump’s perceived loss in the first round. Further impact on the markets will be revealed as polling over the next week reflects any shift in sentiment following the debate as traders await the next debate two weeks from now.