iLevel Election Poll Results – Nov 2

Just a day before one of the most widely anticipated presidential elections in American history, iLevel poll results favor President Donald Trump.  Nearly 9 in 10 iLevel followers who participated in the pre-election survey believed that President Trump – not Joe Biden, would improve their 2021 business the most.  The numbers are consistent with a Gallup poll reported earlier this year that showed a majority of small-business owners thought their businesses would be better off if Trump was re-elected.  Related, FreightWaves recently surveyed truck drivers and found that 53% planned to vote for President Trump.       

Considering small business owners, entrepreneurs, and workers tend to lean conservative and regularly identify the economy as their top concern, the small transportation industry may be an important voting bloc for Republican candidates up and down the ballot.  The economy is in fact one area President Trump regularly receives high approval ratings from the American people. 

Who experts think will win

Nearly all forecasters expect a Joe Biden victory on Tuesday.  The well known FiveThirtyEight forecaster, Nate Silver predicts a 90% chance Biden wins.  The Economist rates Joe Biden’s chances of winning at 96% while the Cook Political Report foresees a relatively easy Electoral College victory for the Democrat.   

Recall, all major prediction models were wrong in 2016, including those listed above – having confidently forecasted a Hillary Clinton win. 

So, if you have yet to vote, do so! And, prepare for anything on election night – including a long wait and possibly lengthy ballot recounts.      

Here’s a brief look at what’s at stake for the transportation industry on Tuesday, Nov 3rd.

The Presidency

Infrastructure plans

Repeatedly, President Trump has called for a massive overhaul of the nation’s highways, bridges, and airports.  Yet the White House’ plan never gained traction in Washington and negotiations with House of Representatives leaders failed several times.   His current $1 Trillion infrastructure plan includes 810 billion on highways and transit over 10 years.   The proposal includes no tax increase.      

Joe Biden proposes a Build Back Better Economic Recovery Plan, which focuses on a ‘green infrastructure’ with investments in roads, bridges, schools, broadband water and energy.  It calls for $2 trillion in spending paid for with an increase in corporate taxes and economic stimulus returns.  He also emphasized millions of union jobs that pay at least $15 per hour.      

The House of Representatives

Democrat majority remains

By all accounts, the House majority will remain in Democrats hands.  Projections indicate Democrats may increase that majority by about 10-15 seats.    

The Senate

Strong chance majority flips to Democrats

Of the 35 seats up for election, 23 are held by the GOP and 12 by Democrats.  Toss up races to watch include Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, Arizona and two in Georgia.  Projections give Democrats an 80% chance of winning back control.        

If projections turn out to be true, Democrat leadership in the Senate means changes atop of all standing committees including Finance, which oversees tax issues – thus Highway Trust Fund revenue and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee.  

No longer encumbered by divided government, a unified Democrat-led legislature is expected to move forward with Biden’s infrastructure plans and seize the opportunity to reverse business deregulations advanced by the Trump administration.   

Regardless of the outcome of the presidential contest, we can expect changes in the top positions of key cabinet and executive agencies important to the transportation industry.  Cabinet and sub-cabinet turnover is increasingly common during second terms – especially under Trump.  A Biden victory would usher in a new group of appointees, though Biden will undoubtedly fill many important vacancies with experienced Obama administration personnel.  

State Transportation Issues

Statewide ballot measures

A comprehensive listing of 2020 ballot measures dealings with transportation issues, including vehicle laws, road and railway construction, and vehicle taxes and highway tolls can be found here:  VOTE SMART

 All eyes are on California’s Prop 22:  App-based drivers as contractors’ question.  Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft have worked hard – and spent millions – to push the measure and place it before California voters.  They seek to override California’s AB5 legislation that mandates Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as employees – not independent contractors.  If Prop 22 fails, Uber and Lyft will be forced to raise prices drastically or significantly limit operations.  

The California legislature passed AB5 in 2019 and touted it as a model for national legislation to secure driver labor protections.  The clash between ride-hailing gig economy businesses and the progressive California legislature has attracted national attention and according to LA Times Prop 22 achieved the distinction as the most expensive ballot measure in state history.  Recent polls show voters are split and a very tight contest expected.   

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