US Election Fever

boThe campaign to take the White House is in full swing, with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney gearing up for the last few weeks of campaigning.

Next week the candidates will partake in a series of debates that each team is hoping to use as a platform to hammer home their respective campaign themes.

The debates will bring the two-year-old campaign to an immediate end when voters get their say on November 6th. With each team intensifying rhetoric ahead of polling day, both are hoping the up-coming debates, as well as the infamous 60-second commercial adverts, will have sealed the deal.

“Barack Obama is going to win,” says Dennis Desmond the Chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland, an organisation affiliated with the Democratic Party in the US. “The election will be fairly close but the polls show Obama in the game, nearly tied, and I told anybody who would listen that Obama is going to win by a lot.”

Gallop’s latest numbers show President Obama leading his challenger Mitt Romney slightly 47 – 46 percent. These numbers, as they generally do, will change as we get closer to Election Day. What has been consistent, however, is Obama’s slight but noticeable lead over Mitt Romney. In other polls taken, the President has bested his opponent with a one or two point lead. In Ohio, Florida, and Colorado the President has held a meagre if not important lead.

“Obama looks forward, republicans look backward, it’s real simple. President Obama is all about fairness and equality. Republicans are not interested (in equality), they’re all about restrictions,” says Desmond.

The numbers reflect a consistent theme in this gruelling campaign, with polls remaining close and each team struggling to find a clear campaign narrative. For the Obama team, they painted Romney as out-of-touch with middle class Americans due to his financially secure background and reputation as a member of the one percent.

Romney’s team painted Obama as out-of-touch with working class Americans and jostled the campaign by suggesting Obama was stealing from Medicare (a form of health care insurance) to pay for President Obama’s healthcare law commonly known as Obamacare.

The Campaign

This campaign has been filled with moments of hope and joy for both sides, but only one issue has nagged at the inner consciousness of the American public – the economy. A pivotal issue for President Obama and Mitt Romney, both campaigns have been trying relentlessly to seize on it. In the early summer, Romney’s attempts failed as the focus of the public (and the media) turned to Bain Capital. Romney was once CEO of the company that built up fledging enterprises and capitalised off the results. By tying Bain and taxes into one coherent nugget, the Obama team tried to divert attention away from a floundering economy and back to labelling its opponent before he got a chance to do it himself.

The Romney team failed to find its footing until they decided to pick Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin as their running mate. The pick, and Ryan’s subsequent convention speech, spoke to a core of Americans who were hurting due to a slowly recovering economy and who were weary about Obama’s health care law.

After months of campaigning, there are only two battles left, the debates and the fight for 270 votes. In the next few days each campaign will paint the next as more experienced in order to give their candidate the upper hand heading into the debates. With millions watching, the debates will give each candidate a chance to win over the vital undecided voter who will ultimately decide the decision on November 6th.

By Liam Cahill