NSU political analyst breaks down coronavirus's impact to presidential election

Coronavirus having big impact on presidential race
Posted at 2:55 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 15:00:16-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The coronavirus pandemic is having a big impact on the presidential race - helping some candidates and hurting others.

"I believe that the pandemic has put a pause on Vice President Biden’s campaign," said Norfolk State University political analyst Dr. Eric Claville. "He was surging. The excitement was there, and he was really building a momentum that I don’t think that Bernie Sanders could have stopped.

"However, due to this pandemic, it looks like that momentum has paused. I think it has helped Sen. Sanders, because this is giving him an opportunity to reset, regroup and then rebrand himself."

Claville says a lot will hinge on June 2, when a number of states have rescheduled their primaries due to the pandemic.

"Whoever wins that, of course, will be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination," Claville said. “This also helps to give an opportunity to potential running mates. The question now becomes what will happen at the national conventions, both RNC and the DNC, with social distancing, with the pandemic, with travel and the economy? We don’t know if we’re going to get a large outpouring or not.”

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump could also benefit during the November elections.

"If you look at the latest approval rates right now, the president has his highest approval rating of 49 percent with Americans. I think that is pretty telling, because this is a time of crisis, and usually candidates' reputations rise or fall during a time of crisis," Claville said.

To get a better idea of how the president will fare, Claville says we'll have to see what happens with the economy in the third quarter.

Claville said what we can be certain of is that we will have an election in November.

"We’ve been through this before with a time of crisis - World War I, we’ve been through World War II, of course the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, 1917, so we’ve been through a lot, even the Civil War, and we’ve elected a president of the United States. So this has happened before and we will have an election in November 2020," Claville said.