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TV series are making unlikely presidential candidates electable: Analyst

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listen during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.
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Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listen during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.

Donald Trump will have to thank his appearance on The Apprentice rather than his political campaigning for any electoral success, one analyst told CNBC's Street Signs.

Stephen Isaacs, chairman of the investment committee at Alvine Capital, rationalized his viewpoint by citing current President Barack Obama's election in 2008, when he was an "unknown senator" and "a lot of people were concerned that as an African American he might, in fact, be unelectable."


According to Isaacs, the influence of "life imitating art" is worth paying attention to. He referenced television series 24, in his words watched by "35 million Americans," which presented the public with a "a tall, urbane, gravelly-voiced African American president, who was making all the right decisions." Isaacs theorized that this characterization, be it consciously or unconsciously, contributed to Obama's ultimate election.

"With Trump, we've had The Apprentice," Isaacs said, by way of comparison. He described how over 30 million viewers have seen the businessman turned reality television star "hiring and firing people, acting in complete command as a presidential-style candidate."

Ultimately, when it comes to speculating election results, Isaacs said that it was "becoming increasingly difficult to accurately poll" and a challenge "to get to people who are perhaps conservative or right of center who don't want to give their choices to a pollster."

Echoing this sentiment, Gina Sanchez, CEO at Chantico Global, told CNBC's Street Signs that "people have underestimated that pool of voters." For Sanchez, the "big question" was voter turnout for the Republican campaign, as "the people that are currently backing Trump are a segment of the population that tend not to vote."

Sanchez, however, is predicting a Democrat victory and noted that "Hillary has been opening up her lead." She added that as the markets had currently priced in a Clinton presidency, "if a Trump win were to come from out of nowhere, the markets would be set for a pretty big drop."

Sanchez did accept that polling can be an unreliable method of predicting votes, citing the recent example of the U.K.'s surprise decision in June this year to exit the European Union. She cited statistician Nate Silver's adage that "there is still a non-zero chance that Trump could win."

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