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How the 6 swing states will play in the election, markets

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Alexis Christoforous, and Andy Serwer discuss why the swing states are even more important in this year’s Presidential election.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Well, undoubtedly President Trump will be touting these GDP numbers when he hits the campaign trail in Florida and North Carolina today. Those are just two of the key swing states where he and Joe Biden are focused with just five days to go, folks, until the election. Our Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer is with us now. Good morning, Andy. I know you wrote about the swing states for our website-- the two candidates spending a lot of time there, particularly in the state of Pennsylvania. How important are these battleground states this election, you know, compared to past?

ANDY SERWER: Yeah, I mean, it's really the whole enchilada. And you have the swixth-- the six swing states. Try saying that in the morning, with the two you mentioned in the South, Florida and North Carolina, and then the Midwestern ones, Wisconsin and Michigan, and then Pennsylvania, as you mentioned, and Arizona. Some people have other combinations, but to me those are the most important six. And those are really up in the air.

Pennsylvania is probably the most important, and I urge people when they look at the national polls basically to just throw those out of the window. They don't really mean anything if Biden is up by seven or eight or nine, 10 percentage points, that doesn't mean anything. All that matters are these swing states, and we know how close they were last time around in 2016. They're definitely as close this time around. And again, I don't really care what the polls say. It's unclear exactly how they're going to go, and you're going to see the candidates spending the bulk of their time in those states between now and Tuesday.

BRIAN SOZZI: Andy, we have the S&P 500 is now down 7% from its recent high. Volatility is back in the markets. Do you think that market volatility will sway voters' minds in some of these states?

ANDY SERWER: Yeah, I mean, you know, this-- the economy is huge, Brian. And to the extent that President Trump has been able to say the stock market has recovered, see, and we're on the road to recovery, you know, this makes that case less convincing as we get down to the wire to the extent that there still undecided voters out there. You know, one thing we're seeing, of course, is people suggesting that the market is saying that Biden is going to win, and therefore we're not going to get a stimulus in a Trump lame-duck session. So you know therefore Trump's people were saying you should vote for Trump so you won't have that eventuality, which is a bit of a contorted argument if you ask me. But I think we're going to see a number of contorted arguments over the next couple of days.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You know, Andy, the economy is always such a big issue for voters when they head to the polls, this year perhaps in an unprecedented way. But in those swing states, it's really the local economy that matters, right, to voters? And in those swing states that we're talking about, the recovery has really been quite uneven. So how do you think the economy story plays out for those voters?

ANDY SERWER: Oh, 100%, Alexis. And you know, all the states are different, and all the states are hit by COVID differently. Right now, for instance, Wisconsin, which is another-- probably Wisconsin and Pennsylvania the two most critical states. Wisconsin, the numbers there in terms of COVID are-- I think it's the second worst state right now in terms of new cases over the past 7 days, so that's very dire. And you know, you're looking potentially at shutdowns there.

Michigan, of course, you've got the auto industry, and then you've got the controversy with Governor Whitmer there as well. Pennsylvania has been uneven, ditto with Florida. So it's all very, very localized. And then, of course, you have, you know, local races with senators that of course can actually influence the presidential vote in a big way as well. So, so many things at play.

And then counting the votes of course in those states is going to be critical, and you may get accountings of people who vote in person on Tuesday before the mail-in and absentee voters are counted in some states, which would create what's called a "red mirage" because those in-person voters may be Trump voters. So it may look like President Trump is ahead, only later to have President Biden-- Vice President Biden I should say-- his votes counted with the absentee and mail-ins which presumably will be stronger there come in later. So buckle your seat belts on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and probably the rest of the week, Alexis.