Re-election: Obama poised for the offence
President Obama’s re-election campaign began in earnest in Ohio spewing out the slogan “Osama is dead and General Motors is alive”— a direct retort to Mitt Romney who had downplayed both events. The key planks of the Obama platform keeping his chances perky were women voters, the Hispanics, the youth and invigorated labor—four voting blocks leaning towards Obama according to most polls.
Florida, a key battleground and vital swing state with growing numbers of non-Cuban Hispanics and viewed by Republicans as open to their socio-economic views was receptive to Obama in part because of Romney’s position on illegal immigration. He took hawkish stances on immigration during the primary season. There is a major move now to shift the debate to what they feel will be friendlier terrain, jobs.
Obama also made the case that the hand dealt by Bush’s shoddy economic legacy of 2007 has been reversed and an economic recovery entrenched--with no fake loans, subprime mortgages and banks on the run are easily forewarned, that if you fail, good bye and bailouts are a thing of the past. Manufacturing is coming back.
Defending the healthcare legislation seemed a hard task. Obama campaign had touted the claim that millions of uninsured were included in the insured pool and the healthcare industry made a sea change. The new normal is that you don't engage in the healthcare business as before. Reform or die. Obama is also relying on the American labor movement, with their proven ability to get voters to the polling booths on election day. When the American economy is doing well without massive outsourcing, the American worker wins.
Obama campaign had tapped into what has been described as attempts by Republican legislators to de-fund family planning, basic pre-emptive caring services like mammograms, cancer screening and contraceptives-availability. That movement called the war on women has tilted the women vote towards the Obama camp in many battleground states.
Romney’s charisma deficit
Obama also successfully captured what many called the enthusiasm level among voters. The charisma gap between Obama and Romney has widened appreciably due to the lack-luster campaigning performance of Romney since January. The underlying theme is that Obama has done a better, more competent job than any Republican president when it comes to leadership of America and its economy. Polls found the Obama getting higher approvals for stature and reliability.
Obama is compared favorably with the Bushes, father and son. One Democratic-leaning analyst stated Obama runs circles around both and the Republicans never had a positive economic record for the working people of America except for the top 1%, and that has always been a losing strategy for America and its citizens.
The two presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum had attacked Romney during the primaries. Even if Newt and Rick were to openly endorsed Romney, they bring with them excess baggage—neither would they be welcomed with open arms. Both were slow to declare their support or endorse without reservation.
Bush adviser Rove’s forecast
Meanwhile, Karl Rove, Republican strategist and political adviser to George W Bush published the first forecast of the Electoral College vote in the Wall Street Journal giving Obama the advantage. He stated that in the Electoral College (EC) map, there are 18 states (220 Electoral College votes)where Obama has a solid lead and 15 states (93 EC votes) polling solidly for Romney, according to the latest polling average in each state. There are six states with a combined 82 EC votes classified as “toss--ups” (IOWA,, FLORIDA, MISSOURI,NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA VIRGINIA); five states (MICHIGAN, NEW HAMSHIRE,NEVADA, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA) with a combined 64 EC votes that “lean” Obama; and six states (ARIZONA KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY, SOUTH DAKOTA, DAKOTA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS)with a combined 79 EC votes that “lean” Romney. In other words, there are 17states and a total of 225 Electoral College votes up for grabs.
Rove’s top line math stated: that's 284"safe" or "lean" Obama, versus 157 "safe" or "lean" Romney states. Rove explained that these projections will change as more polls are conducted in the coming weeks.
The hard fight would be in the battle ground states where campaigning would be at its harshest. The so called PAC money where millionaires are permitted to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising independently and not connected to a candidate may tilt things in Romney’s favor. Romney outspent Santorum and Gingrich in the primaries one to fifteen and sometimes even more in certain countries.
Shift to the Right
Romney’s drift to the Right top prevail over Santorum and Gingrich also bucked the trend that even Republican voters are more pragmatic and centrist than they are given credit for. Winning a general election required a different posture from the party alignment shown during a primary. Culture warriors rarely attract independent voters. To win, a Republican candidate has to woo the center, and a president for most people, represented a national leader, not a factional chief or a cultural crusader.
Romney’s challenge is to appeal broadly to America’s diverse electorate that has usually decided elections. American voters’ weakness for popular icons over articulate cultural ideologues seemed a pro-Obama factor that Romney has to overcome.
Obama has also used the capture of Osama bib Laden an indicator of his foreign policy success. Many analysts often cite Teddy Roosevelt's famous line to “speak softly and carry a big stick". That has often mentioned as being equally applicable to Obama by his supporters after the capture and death of Osama
Level of unemployment
Unemployment level has been the weakest link for Obama—it is at 8.1 as of now and may have to drop to at least 7percent to stop the constant rant made against Obama policies since the downturn in the economy started in 2007. The next few months would be crucial. Any rise in unemployment would be hard to defend. The news about the slow economic growth in many parts of the world seemed to indicate an unusually less robust growth rate in the US. This is something that may be cause for worry for the Obama re-election plans.
Finally, the 15 so-called battleground states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and others would be the main deciding factor regarding the ultimate outcome of the 2012 election in November. Hard campaigning is ahead of us.