News / USA

    Tight, Negative US Presidential Campaign Expected: Analysts

    Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
    x
    Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
    Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
    Less than six months before the U.S. presidential election, new polls show a deadlocked race between President Barack Obama and his expected Republican opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

    The intense verbal jousting between the Obama and Romney campaigns has begun early and political analysts predict a long and largely negative campaign between now and November.

    Frank Newport is a pollster with one of the most respected monitors of U.S. public opinion, the Gallup Organization.

    "You put it all together and my conclusion looking at it is that it is a very close race at this point," said Newport.  "In fact, when we asked people who would you vote for if the election were today, voters in America, basically it is tied at about 46 [percent] to 46."

    If the predictions hold true, the 2012 race will be in keeping with other recent close presidential elections, including those in 2000 and 2004.

    Most analysts say the economy is the critical issue in this year's campaign and they say the key question is whether voters have enough faith in Obama to reward him with another four years in office, or turn instead to Romney.

    Romney is close to securing the 1,144 delegates he needs to claim the Republican Party's presidential nomination and has focused his campaign on President Obama's handling of the economy.

    "He has spent more and borrowed more.  The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead.  I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno," said Romney.

    After a relatively comfortable victory four years ago, the president is warning his Democratic supporters to expect a much closer contest this year.  Obama spoke recently at a campaign fundraising event in New York.

    "But I'm going to need all of you," said Obama.  "This is going to be a tough race.  It is going to be a tight race.  Nobody should be taking this for granted."

    Polls show voters like Obama personally more than Romney, but many surveys give Romney a slight edge in handling the economy.

    Thomas Mann, a political expert at the Brookings Institution, says public perceptions of the economy will be a determining factor in November.

    "I would say the most important factor is whether the economy is picking up some steam and moving forward or is it falling back again?  If it's falling back again Obama's re-election is at serious risk," said Mann.

    Like the 2004 matchup between President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, both candidates this year will rely on a strong turnout from committed supporters in their parties.

    But close elections are usually decided by independent voters, who do not have strong allegiances to either political party and are liable to swing either way on Election Day.

    Ken Duberstein served as former President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff in the 1980s.

    "Where the votes are going to count are in the middle, in the independent vote," said Duberstein.  "If the bases [of both parties] turn out, nobody wins.  It is the fight over the independents, the 'indies.'  So you have to broaden your constituency and not just play to your existing base."

    While the campaign is expected to be tough, Romney has repudiated a proposed attack campaign against the president developed on behalf of wealthy conservative businessman Joe Ricketts.

    The New York Times said that the $10 million ad campaign that Ricketts wanted to fund separately from the Romney campaign would have resurrected Obama's ties to his controversial former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  But a spokesman says Ricketts has now rejected the proposed campaign.  Republican candidate John McCain opposed a similar campaign when he ran against Obama in 2008.

    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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alex Smith from: Russia
    May 29, 2012 2:38 PM
    Answer is to Donatas. There is no right dependency. But new thinking is needed about democracy in Russia. Conception of democracy is under the question.

    by: Donatas from: Russia
    May 23, 2012 3:52 AM
    Alex Smith, do you think Obama or someone else depends from Putin?

    by: jason huang from: N.Y.C
    May 22, 2012 12:58 PM
    This is good.

    by: peggy from: nyc
    May 22, 2012 12:54 PM
    Fatma. How are you today!

    by: Learner from: Southeastasia
    May 21, 2012 1:18 AM
    How is the US economy run? I think the economy of a country depends very much on the productivity and its sale, and savings of its people, and not so much on its president. What a president can do is create acceptable strategic policies to boost productivity and sales, and to reduce spending. The rest is left to the people to make best use of the opporunity in accodance with the valid regulations.

    by: Alex Smith from: Russia
    May 20, 2012 2:40 PM
    Romney has independence fron Mr. Putin (Russia). God bless him. The USA is a good.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora