News / USA

    Surveys Show Tight US Presidential Race as Party Conventions Loom

    Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama, right.
    Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama, right.
    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. public opinion surveys show a close race for president between the incumbent Democrat, President Barack Obama, and his presumptive Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The polls also show voters tend to personally like the president more but give a slight edge to Romney on handling the economy, which is by far the most important issue in the campaign. 

    The latest Gallup daily tracking poll gives President Obama a narrow 47 to 46 percent lead over Mitt Romney with about 90 days until the election in November. There has been little fluctuation in the Gallup daily tracking poll since April, and analysts say that could mean the race will remain close until Election Day.

    “Mr. Obama seems to be slightly ahead nationally and seems to be slightly ahead in more of the swing states than not," says Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But it is not a huge lead.”

    Brown’s latest polls in three competitive or so-called swing states also show a tight race. Romney holds a five point lead in Colorado, while the president is ahead by four points in Virginia and six points in Wisconsin.  Obama won all three states in 2008 and they are among about a dozen or so battleground states this year, where the presidential campaigns will focus their organizing and advertising activities. 

    Brown says the race for the White House will intensify shortly with Romney’s expected announcement of a vice presidential running mate and the two party nominating conventions that will be held the last week in August and the first week in September.

    “There are several events that will really determine this election -- Mr. Romney’s choice of a running mate and the Republican convention and the Democratic convention and how the two people come across," says Brown. "And then, obviously, the debates will be the crowning events of the campaign.”

    Three presidential debates will be held beginning in early October plus one debate between the two vice presidential candidates.

    Longtime political analyst Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News says Mitt Romney will try to use the Republican Party convention to reintroduce himself to American voters.

    “I think Romney is going to get a bounce [i.e., a boost in his public opinion ratings] when he announces his vice presidential candidate and he is going to get a bounce from his acceptance speech at the convention," says DeFrank, who appeared on VOA’s Issues in the News program. "And I suspect that Romney will come out of that convention a few points ahead.”

    DeFrank also notes that the polls show most voters have already decided which candidate they will support, with a relatively small pool of undecided voters left for the campaigns to try to persuade ahead of November 6.

    “The bottom line to me is that President Obama has not convinced the majority of the American people that he deserves to be reelected," he says. "Neither has Governor Romney convinced a majority of the American people that he is up to the job of being president either.”

    Both presidential campaigns and their allied fundraising groups, known as super PACs, or political action committees, have spent tens of millions of dollars running attack ads during the past several weeks trying to influence those undecided voters.  And experts say we can expect that to continue into November.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora