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    Posted May 8, 2012 by
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    What Do European Elections Mean for Obama Re-election?


    With  all the changes occuring with leadership throughout Europe and  President Barack Obama up for re-election here in the US of A, some  foreign news organizations are wondering what the effect and impact will  be for Obama on November 8.

    These  news organizations point to the fact that 11 presidents or prime  ministers have been sent packing. All of them have lost their jobs  primarily because of the ongoing economic crisis. The reporters are  asking if the President may also find himself sitting on the curb with a  negative referendum on his handling of the American economy.

    This from New Delhi Television in India:

    The  transatlantic economic crisis has scythed through Europe's leaders. So,  as November looms, can Barack Obama avoid becoming the highest profile  victim of a trend shaping world politics?

    US President Obama lost  a flamboyant, sometimes erratic but ultimately trusted partner in  Nicolas Sarkozy after France picked Francois Hollande, its first  Socialist president in a decade, to pull it out of the slump.

    Sarkozy  Sunday joined Britain's Gordon Brown, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi,  Ireland's Brian Cowen, and leaders of Denmark, Spain and Portugal sent  packing since Obama took office himself in 2009.

    Though each  election featured unique national factors, those leaders paid for their  failure to mitigate the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.

    Obama  now faces a battle in November's election to ensure that the "Great  Recession" does not send him back to hometown Chicago after a single  White House term.

    He has similar challenges as his European  counterparts: High jobless rates, slow economic growth, bulging national  debt and pervading middle class pessimism.
    Economic woes and  Europe's capacity to further damage the fragile US recovery, represent  Obama's deepest electoral vulnerability.

    "There's one universal  truth that's told about elections, it is about the economy, and how  people feel about the economy, whether it's getting better or worse,"  said Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and International  Studies.

    In a new Politico/George Washington University poll  yesterday, Obama led his Republican opponent Mitt Romney on issues  including foreign policy, the middle class and on values.

    But the  election is still a toss-up because of the economy. Obama is ahead 48  per cent to 46 per cent on who would better create jobs. Romney is up  three per cent on who would be a better steward of the economy.


    Then there is this from News 24 in South Africa:

    Though  jobs growth is slowing – 115 000 new positions were created last month -  unemployment is nowhere near the staggering proportions it is in  Europe.

    Unlike European states slipping back into recession, the economy is still growing, albeit at only 2.2% in the first quarter.

    Dante  Scala, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, said it was  unclear whether Obama could get a pass from voters because the crisis  pre-dated his administration.

    "It is pretty well established in  political science literature that it's typically the current incumbent,  not a past incumbent, who bears the burden at the ballot box of a weak  economy," he said.

    "Would [voters] be willing to go back four  years and say 'well things were really bad in 2008 and things are a  little better now?'"

    "Political scientists don't have a lot of confidence that voters have a really long memory."

    Obama  may be lucky in his enemy: The starchy, corporate Romney has an even  tougher job connecting with hurting blue-collar voters than he does.

    But  the president's biggest problem may be that the recovery is too slow  for large numbers of Americans to feel and Romney is playing up the  sense of gloom.

    "The president's a nice guy, but he's never had a  job in the private sector. He's never created a job. I think it helps  to have had a job to create a job," Romney, a multi-millionaire venture  capitalist said.

    Obama's vulnerability was obvious at his first  campaign rallies in Virginia and Ohio on Saturday, as he bemoaned jobs  lost, high deficits and a weak housing market.

    He cannot make the classic argument of presidents running for re-election - that voters are better off than when he took office.

    So  Obama has come up with a vow to build an equitable economy, with the  rich paying their "fair share" and is asking voters to look forwards,  not backwards.

    But Romney will not to let Obama change the subject.

    "President  Obama would like for voters to believe he hasn't been president for the  last three years," said campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg.


    From the Cornfield, does what has happened in European elections offer an insight to the US presidential election?

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