Our friends at Factcheck.org break it down nicely. The short version is: Clinton is correct…to an extent.
The economy has performed better under Democratic presidents, but the Princeton professors who did the analysis explicitly say it’s not because of superior policies.
Some of it comes down to luck. For example, the global economy does especially well and oil prices don’t spike.
Another key question is who’s better for investors?
If you are one of the nearly 50% of Americans with money in the stock market, does it make a difference which party is in the White House?
History says yes.
Democrats have been better for the stock market
Since 1945, the average annual gain under a Democratic president is 9.7%. Under a Republican president, it’s only been 6.7%, according to Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
Before Democrats take a victory lap, consider that the best stock market performance of all came under Republican President Gerald Ford, who was in office form August 1974 to January 1977. Under Ford, the S&P 500 surged 18.6% a year, on average.
The timing worked out for Ford, at least in market terms. Stocks tend to surge after big dips, and he came in during quite the downturn. Richard Nixon resigned, oil prices were spiking and the U.S. was in the midst of a recession.
Ford was out of office before the next oil crisis and hyperinflation scare at the end of the 1970s.
A Republican Congress has also been good for stocks
The next best president for the stock market was Bill Clinton. The average annual gain for the S&P 500 was 14.9% during his tenure. For that, he can thank the tech boom.
The only two presidents with negative average annual returns during their tenure are both Republicans — Nixon (-5.1%) and George W. Bush (-4.6%).
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Source: CNN Money