Presidency not a horse race; election hinges on economic interests
Published: June 22, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With more than four months until the presidential election, pundits and pollsters are producing a steady stream of predictions about the outcome, with each day's major news parsed for how it might affect the race. Administrative decision to allow some undocumented immigrants to stay? Improves President Barak Obama's standing with Latinos. Unemployment numbers for the month show little change? Improves the prospects of the presumptive Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Or so the pollsters and pundits would have us believe. Never mind that predictions are meaningless until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, or start posting their mail-in ballots in October. Especially in a world where news is summed up into tweet-size bites, campaign coverage is dominated by the horse race: who's in front right this minute, based on the influences of the day. But, as explained by panels of speakers at two recent forums, the answer to who will be president next year is far more complex than what can fit into a nugget of information. In this election, most people will focus on how the economy is affecting them personally, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute, at a May 31 program sponsored by National Journal Live. Brown said that "economy" to most people includes factors such as unemployment, debt and the cost of health care. Whatever happens with the Affordable Care Act in light of the Supreme Court's expected ruling this month, "it's going to be important that both candidates talk about their preferred ways of controlling health care costs," Brown said. The all-important swing voters whose election priorities don't fit neatly with one candidate, "will be moved not by ideology, but by who they think will solve their problems," he said.
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