How has the Market Performed during Election Years?

Matt Corthell |

This year, it seems more than any other cycle, when a conversation about the election comes up, I have observed a collective groan from those I have been speaking with. I’d argue there is a good reason for that, but this article is not about that.

We are here to discuss how the market has performed during election years since 1972. As you will see, this has been something to cheer historically.

  • Notable Facts
    • Weakest Month on Average Historically: October
    • Strongest Month on Average Historically: November
    • Full Year Average Return: 10.77%
    • Percentage of Election Years positive: 84.62%

There are many reasons as to why the worst and best months are next to each other. I would guess, but have no verifiable data, that October is historically the worst month followed by November being the best month due to perceived uncertainty in the market. In October, uncertainty for who will be running the country is likely high as new polls, debates and other data comes out. In early November, we know the outcome of the election and the market then can price in the expected regulatory environment as certainty comes back to the markets.

It’s important to recognize that the presidential election is only one factor that goes into overall pricing by the markets. While the president can and does have the ability to impact the economy, it is oftentimes in a limited way. As with most things, it’s best to focus on the things that we can control. Our savings, spending and implementing our own financial plans.

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The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and has been developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The opinions expressed are those of the author, are for general information, and should not be considered as a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.  

Data obtained from

The above data represents the S&P 500 TR Index. Any market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

Forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.