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Analyst weighs in on Bernie Sanders health issue, says Warren may outpace him

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ campaign said that the Democratic presidential candidate had a heart procedure for a blocked artery after experiencing chest discomfort at a campaign event in Las Vegas. Following the procedure, the Vermont senator “is conversing and in good spirits,” according to his campaign, but is cancelling all events “until further notice.”

Supporters are optimistic that ‘The Bern’ is doing OK as seen on Twitter with the hashtag #GellWellBernie. Yet, Wall Street isn’t as optimistic about the future of Sanders’ campaign. Chris Meekins, Raymond James senior healthcare policy analyst, tells Yahoo Finance’s On The Move “this health issue is kind of symbolic of his campaign.” He thinks Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign has “a heartbeat but isn't quite going as strongly as it needed to go, as we saw back in 2016.”

Rather, Meekins has his eye on another presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“We believe Warren is within striking distance of winning both the nomination and White House” and that the “market under-appreciates Warren’s ability” to do so, wrote Meekins, along with Raymond James’ Washington policy analyst. And “regrettably” for Bernie, Warren may outpace him to snatch the Democratic pick.

“Elizabeth Warren has really been surging,” Meekins continues, “She's got a strong grassroots campaign. She's raising a ton of money. She's taken more than 60,000, quote unquote, selfies... which translates into more than 9 million viral social media hits for individuals and views.”

Democratic and democratic-leaning independents prefer Warren (Source: RealClearPolitics; Raymond James Research)

According to a recent poll from RealClearPolitics and Raymond James Research, Warren is currently taking the lead for Democratic and Democratic-leaning Independents, with 75% of those surveyed deeming her as favorable and 11% unfavorable. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden trails behind Warren, with 71% deeming him as favorable with a larger portion, 22%, saying he is unfavorable. Sanders then follows in a close third with 66% of respondents deeming him as favorable, but with a larger percentage saying he is unfavorable, 27%.

It’s important to note that 15% of respondents are unsure or never heard of Warren, compared to 7% respondents who said the same about Biden and Sanders.

Meekins also points out her popularity in Iowa, noting that “every Democrat who has won Iowa since 1996 has ended up going on to be the nominee.”

The narrative that Warren has a good chance of being the Democratic nominee and even winning the presidency has the markets concerned. “Wall Street often times assumes one of the key facts is, things are never as good as they seem and they're never as bad as they seem,” Meekins said.

If Warren implements Medicare for All it would impact the market, he said, we’ve seen “managed care stocks down more than 10% year-to-date on that potential threat,” but he adds the actuality of her being able to implement this is “really unlikely.” Meekins thinks the affect will be “more niche” rather than hurt the overall market.

Trump’s chances in 2020

And in case you were wondering if President Donald Trump will remain a major contender in the 2020 election, well, according to Meekins, it all depends on two components.

“The only incumbents who have lost in the last 75 years, two things have happened,” he elaborates, “One, they've had a credible primary challenger where at least 30% of the vote went to that person in an early state. And two...there's been an economic recession within two years of the election. Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush all had recessions within two years on election day. And yet, every other president who's won re-election has not had a recession. So the biggest telltale, whether Donald Trump could win, is whether or not we go into a recession, historically speaking.”

Brooke DiPalma is a Producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.


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