While it is always possible we could see a replay of the 2000 election with state-wide recounts and legal intervention, there are other possibilities to consider as well. This week's polls suggest that Romney has pulled into a national lead of about 1%. However, Obama remains ahead in the electoral college count due to his more concentrated support in swing states such as Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado. Some writers have discussed the scenario whereby Romney could win the overall popular vote but Obama would win the electoral college and hence the presidency. Such an electoral college/popular vote split is still quite unlikely, but if the election were held today that would likely be the outcome. But the problem here is that scenario may not be sufficiently uncertain to fulfill the promise of this tricky-looking Mercury retrograde station. Even if Obama did win under those circumstances, it would not create any uncertainty since it would adhere to the rules of the game. It would likely further undermine his legitimacy in the second term, however, as Republicans would become more extreme in their opposition to Obama. Gridlock in Washington might well intensify (if that's possible) under this scenario.
Looking at the US horoscope for election day, we can that the potential problems extend beyond just the Mercury retrograde station. At the time of the election, Mercury will station at 10 Scorpio, which is almost exactly on the 12th house cusp of the 6.30 chart. Clearly, one does not want to over-emphasize such house placements when the accuracy of the USA chart is still in question. And yet, this is definitely a more difficult placement for Mercury since the 12th house is broadly negative and concerns confinement and foreign matters, among other things. From this placement, it is possible that there may be some noteworthy foreign dimension to the outcome, up to an including foreign interference. Of course, Saturn is also in close aspect with Mercury on election night and hence Saturn will sit on the 11th house of gains in early November. Saturn is often negative in its influence so this could signal difficult economic implications from the election. An indecisive or disputed election would likely hurt the US credit rating since bond rating agencies would correctly surmise that a disputed election result would reduce the likelihood of co-operation on the fiscal cliff that threatens the country on December 31. Rahu is also involved here as it is in a close 120 degree trine aspect to natal Mercury in the US chart. While Rahu to Mercury aspects can mark an occasion of novel thinking and intellectual breakthroughs, they are also commonly found in times of confusion. In that sense, the Rahu influence on Mercury is a very close echo of the energy contained in the Mercury retrograde station. Given the afflicted nature of this chart at this time, I think the more negative interpretation of Rahu-Mercury is more likely.
Perhaps more worrying is the close opposition aspect between Mars (28 Scorpio) and its natal placement at 0 Gemini. Such hard Mars to Mars aspects are frequently correlated with situations of conflict so it seems quite likely that the election will generate some hard feelings among the losers. There has been some mention of possible civil unrest after this election as passions are running quite high. I would expect more of a Mars affliction here if the civil unrest was going to be a major problem. As it is, the Mars to Mars transit is only in force for a few days. That may not be strong enough to correlate with some bleaker scenarios of widespread violence. Therefore, my guess is we are likely to see more harsh talk and inflamed passions than any actual violent action. With Neptune still closely conjunct the US natal Moon, I would expect those feelings and emotions will be running close to the surface as the ideal image of America will be thrust into the foreground around this election result. Conservatives are convinced that Obama is trying to remake America into some kind of socialist society that violates its constitution and founding principles. No doubt this kind of talk will persist and possibly increase after the election.
The bottom line here is that I think there is a good chance that we will see some significant complications on election night that will remain unresolved in the days afterwards. It seems likely that any post-election scenario will be more disruptive and uncertain than the electoral college/popular vote split discussed earlier. Just what that might be is hard to say. It does seem possible that the rancor from the fiercely fought election campaign is unlikely to go away any time soon. This is likely to affect the ability of the US government to act decisively on its pressing economic and budgetary issues in the post-election period. I would also expect this contentious result and/or stalemate will negatively affect stock markets. Another term of an Obama presidency could be neutral for markets, however. While corporate spending is down due to the perceived threat of tax increases and the impact of Obamacare, the higher levels of government spending from an Obama administration would likely be stimulative for the economy and the stock market. Furthermore, if Obama is re-elected (as I still expect he will), then Bernanke's loose money policy is likely to continue. Quantitative easing has been generally good for stocks, so it seems likely that if Obama re-appoints Bernanke in early 2013, we can look forward to more such stimulative money printing from the Federal Reserve.
On that score, the markets were down last week as corporate earnings guidance have reduced profit projections for 2013. The Dow was down about 2% on the week closing at 13,329. Indian stocks also lost ground as the Sensex fell to 18,675. Gold also tumbled to $1755 as the spectre of recession reduced inflation dangers. While I was uncertain about last week, I wondered when Jupiter's retrograde period would begin to weaken sentiment. It may have begun already as stocks have trended lower since its retrograde station on October 4.
This week could see more fallout from Jupiter's reversal although it should be noted there will be some positive short term aspects, too. On Tuesday, Mercury and Venus will align with Jupiter so that suggests the possibility of some early week gains. However, the Sun's enters sidereal Libra on Wednesday. Not only is the Sun debilitated in Libra, but it will move into closer conjunction with Saturn in the days ahead. This is another plausibly negative influence on stocks. Gold is also likely to weaken further as a result of this debilitated Sun in the weeks ahead.
Transits for Wednesday 17 October 2012 9.30 a.m. New York