News / USA

Economic Volatility Driving Close US Election

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Production Products in St. Louis, Missouri, June 7, 2012.Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Production Products in St. Louis, Missouri, June 7, 2012.
x
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Production Products in St. Louis, Missouri, June 7, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Production Products in St. Louis, Missouri, June 7, 2012.
Less than five months before Election Day, experts say weakness in the U.S. economy appears to be driving a close presidential race this year.

Republicans have a new sense of momentum for their expected presidential nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

"Look into this race," said Romney.  "This is not just a race about politics or people.  It is a race about the course of the country.  And I will keep America strong and I will honor in all ways the commitment of this country to be one nation, under God."

A recent uptick in the U.S. jobless rate to 8.2 percent and volatility in the stock market have raised new doubts about the stability of the domestic economy, which political analysts say will be far and away the key factor in the November matchup between Romney and President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Republicans also seem much more enthusiastic about this year's election than four years ago when Obama trounced his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain.

John Fortier is with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

"Clearly the difference from 2008 is that the Republicans will be more energized," said Fortier.  "They were not energized in 2008.  Democrats were.  I think we are at least likely to see both sides be re-energized in 2012."

Fortier says the improved Republican turnout effort was on display in the recent recall vote in Wisconsin won by the incumbent Republican Governor, Scott Walker.

Democrats took heart from exit polls in Wisconsin that showed voters still favor the president for re-election.  But many Obama supporters are growing concerned that the weakness of the U.S. economy will be a drag on his hopes in November.

President Obama is trying to keep the focus on the Republicans, blaming them for blocking his jobs bill in Congress.

"There is going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future," said Obama.  "That is a debate I'm eager to have.  But right now people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong."

Analyst John Fortier says the president has plenty to worry about if the recent disappointing economic indicators become a trend.

"So I think the average voter is going to say, do you think things are headed in the right direction?  Maybe they are not perfect.  Maybe unemployment is still high.  But are they getting a little bit better?  That would be good for the president.  If people are still quite not optimistic about the economy, that is going to be good for Mitt Romney," Fortier noted.

Gallup pollster Frank Newport agrees that the economy will decide the election and is among those predicting a very close vote in November.

"Two out of the last three elections have been quite close," said Newport.  "In 2000 it was so close it had to go to the Supreme Court.  Now in 2008 Obama won by about seven [points] in the national vote so that was a little stronger election, but that was a pretty negative reaction to [former President] George W. Bush at that point.  So I think the natural tendency for elections in America today is to be close."

The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll suggests the weakening economy is taking a toll on the president's re-election chances.

It shows the president narrowly leading Romney by a margin of 44 to 41 percent.  But it also finds a dip in the president's job approval rating from 51 to 47 percent, with 48 percent now disapproving of his performance in office.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More