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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora