JPMorgan economists also anticipate economic growth will take a hit next year, slowing to a pace of 1.9 percent for 2019.
In some possible signs of cracks in the strong economy, several economic data points disappointed on Wednesday. Consumer sentiment came in at 97.5 in November, below estimates. Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims rose to a more than four-month high last week, and durable goods orders fell by the largest amount in 15 months in October.
The Trump administration has dismissed any notion of an economic slowdown. On Tuesday, the president's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, called expectations for a recession "nonsense" and said he does not "even remotely agree" with Goldman's assessment.
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the discrepancy between economic outlook and the president's approval rating.
Electoral expert and forecaster Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight believes the prospect of a downturn poses risks for Trump in 2020. Silver writes that presidents typically win their re-election bids — even after struggles for their parties in the most recent midterm election. President George H.W. Bush was the last incumbent president to lose an election in 1992, and Trump's predecessor President Barack Obama won a second term after a wipeout of his Democratic Party in the 2010 midterms.
Yet, Silver notes that Obama and Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan — who also earned second terms despite tough midterm elections — had the advantage of improving economies. That's where the problems for Trump could come in, as the economy does not have room to get much better, according to Silver.
He writes that "although the economy is very strong now, there is arguably more downside than upside for Trump (voters have high expectations, but growth is more likely than not to slow a bit)."
Of course, there is no guarantee that growth slows down, and Trump could go into the 2020 election with a strong economy behind him. Any number of factors could also boost his approval rating in the nearly two years before the November 2020 election.
Unknowns could also work against Trump in that time. Special counsel Robert Mueller will likely conclude his investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.
House Democratic investigations — and the possibility of Trump's tax returns revealing new information — also loom as the president looks toward his re-election.
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