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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid