Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All Greek to Me....

Apparently, my name in Greek is:  Μάικλ Μάνγκερ .  And here is an article in a Greek paper that has an interview about American politics. English version:

Q1.    What are the chances of Mitt Romney beating President Obama and under what circumstances could that happen?

A:  It is going to come down to the economy.  If the growth rate increases to 4% in the 2nd or 3rd quarters of this year, then President Obama will win easily.

President Obama has more money, and better organization.  And he is the incumbent.  Further, the Republican House of Representatives is an embarrassment for candidate Romney.

I do not think the Romney has a realistic chance to win, unless the economy turns back down.  If that happens, Romney will be able to use the unpopularity of the Obama health care plan to good advantage.  But if the economy picks up, it is hopeless for Romney.  He is a weak candidate, and he will not have enough money to win.

Q2.    Which are the key factors (economy, foreign policy, etc) to this presidential campaign that could define the election result? Which of these favour Romney and which Obama?

A:  Americans do not care very much about foreign policy, unless there is a war.  And Obama has brought home most of the US troops from Iraq, and wiill soon begin to bring troops home from Afghanistan.  So the only important issue is the economy.  It is deceptively simple, simpler than one would think.  Political scientists and journalists want to focus on issues, but the main concern for voters is their jobs and their families. 

Q3.    Do you think that the winner will be decided by the swing states?

A:  The winner will be determined by the outcome of five states:  Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

The other states are mostly a foregone conclusion.  Some of them will go one way, and some another, but those five states are "in play."  And they will see a blitz of advertising and volunteer work that will make voters tired of the whole process long before November. 

The problem will not just be appealing to "swing" voters in these states, but also increasing turnout among strong partisans.  I happen to live in North Carolina, which had 65% turnout in 2008, the highest in a long time.  In a high turnout election, the Democrats (Obama) would win easily.  But if the economy turns down, and turnout is small, Romney might have a chance.  But I do not expect that to happen.  I do think that Obama will win.

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