Barack Obama and Mitt Romney level with 100 days to US election
The US election campaign will tick into the 100 days countdown tomorrow, but America is far from being any the wiser as to who will occupy the White House come the end of the year.
In recent weeks the race for the presidency has ratcheted up several notches, with both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney going evermore negative.
But despite their best efforts, the two men have failed to open up any electoral margin – polls have consistently put them within a statistically negligible couple of points of each other.
The latest snapshot of voter intention by Gallup has nothing between the two men, with Romney and Obama both on 46 per cent apiece.
“The race is almost dead even – that is true no matter how you measure it,” said Bill Galston, former strategist for president Bill Clinton and now a senior fellow at Washington think tank Brookings Institution.
This comes despite both men pumping tens of millions of dollars into negative advertising.
In July alone, the Obama campaign is expected to spend more than $30 million (£19m) in commercials disparaging his rival.
The latest ad has Romney singing America the Beautiful largely out of tune, while headlines on the screen tie the Republican candidate to tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland, and portrays him as a businessman who shipped jobs overseas.
It is being played heavily in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia – swing states seen as crucial to November’s run-off.
The tactic is working in terms of driving the political agenda towards Romney’s record. In recent weeks the former governor of Massachusetts has failed to shake off persistent questions over his personal tax arrangements and his role at private equity firm Bain Capital while the firm was shipping jobs to India and China.
But it is having less of an impact on the public at large.
Mr Galston explained: “This will come as a disappointment to the Obama camp, which is determined to define Romney before he can define himself. That simply hasn’t been successful.”
This is despite Romney repeatedly falling into traps set by Democrats that make him seem like an out-of-touch multi-millionaire.
Meanwhile, Romney has damaged his own image through a series of gaffes, the latest of which in London made waves back across the Atlantic yesterday.
The would-be president’s apparent snub of the UK’s Olympic efforts has not got the sort of headlines it has in the UK, but it has served to hit Romney’s credibility in what amounts to his first overseas test.
Commentators have suggested that it displays political immaturity on the world stage – a damaging assertion against a man running to lead the world’s most powerful nation.
Moreover, attacks on the Republican candidate’s wealth, business record and his missteps in London have all helped Obama’s people keep the political agenda away from an area in which real damage could be inflicted, the economy.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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