Citi’s Candi Wolff Explores Unique Aspects of the 2020 Race

By Nicsa posted 03-23-2020 03:08 PM


It’s no secret that the upcoming presidential election may have a significant impact on the asset management industry — but what should we expect? Candi Wolff, Head of Global Government Affairs at Citi, gave Nicsa members her perspective on the issue as a keynote speaker at Nicsa’s SLF in late February.

Wolff, who served in the White House as President George W. Bush’s chief lobbyist, made history as the first female to hold such a position. Today, she uses more than two decades of government relations experience to identify policy issues that may impact Citi and the industry at large.

“This election is not about what the national polls tell us,” Wolff told Nicsa members. “It is about the electoral college, and it is about the swing states.” Whether those voters will re-elect President Trump comes down to two main factors — Trump’s job approval and the state of the economy.

“His job approval ceiling hovers around 46 percent, and presidents that get re-elected usually have approval ratings of over 50 percent,” Wolff said.

And while Trump, at least prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has enjoyed high approval ratings with respect to the economy, those ratings don’t necessarily translate to electability.


Wolff said the states that were significant in 2016 will again play a major role in deciding the 2020 election, namely Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In fact, Wolff said that when she asks political operatives which state will likely dictate the outcome of the election, the answer is always Wisconsin.

“The reason for that is the electoral college requires 207 votes for victory,” she said. “President Trump had 306 in 2016. He needs to hold North Carolina, he needs to hold Arizona, and he will likely keep Florida, which is a state where his approval rates have remained constant. And if he does that, he only needs to win Wisconsin.”

On the other hand, if Trump loses in Arizona, Wolff said he has to pick up Pennsylvania or Michigan. And the latest polls show the democratic party ahead in both of those states.

“We’re also months out from the election, and things will drift,” she said.


Note: Although the observations contained in this work represent the best thoughts of the individuals comprising the Nicsa panel, they do not necessarily reflect the views of Nicsa or any of its member organizations. Matters addressed in this work may touch upon legal or regulatory matters, however nothing herein is intended to be or should be construed as legal advice. You should contact your own counsel in order to obtain legal advice regarding these or any other matters.