By: Nicole Best – WASHINGTON DC – 26TH OCTOBER, 2012
At least two US political think tanks agree that the state of the US economy is the number one issue in the 2012 Presidential elections and not foreign policy, as is being touted.
William Galston of the Brooking Institute and Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation told a group of international journalist currently in Washington DC to cover the elections, that despite heated discussions on foreign policy and social issues, during the recently held presidential debates, studies are showing that the state of the economy is the overriding concern of US citizens.
Galston said a recent survey done by the Brooking Institute of which he is a Senior Fellow showed that there has been a drastic shift in issues that are foremost on the minds of the electorate this year than was in previous elections.
He said most of the voter population – 60% – was more concerned about “issues such as economic growth, job generation, household income and also the question of fiscal policy” than social and cultural issues which had been very significant in previous elections.
“There is a lot of vociferous arguments right now about issues such as abortion in the United states, same-sex marriage but only one to two percent of the electorate will say when asked that those are the issues they consider most important to determine their votes.”
In that same survey, the issue of foreign policy took third place to concerns about health care.
“I would argue that on election day…that the person who scores higher in the economic dimension, is overwhelmingly likely to receive the majority of popular votes and become the next president of the United States,” Galston said.
“In the United States, the concerns of the people, define the central issue of the campaign and from the standpoint of the American people, right now, the future of the American economy over the next four years is overwhelmingly the dominant issue.”
“Candidates could talk about a lot of other issues but the people wouldn’t be interested,” Galston told journalists.
Lee Edwards, a Distinguished Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, has developed a model he calls MOCIM, to help determine the outcome of US Presidential Elections.
MOCIM – Money, Organisation, Candidates as campaigners, Issues and Media, he says are the most fundamental elements of any US Presidential Elections.
Edwards said going on this principle, he has been able to accurately predict the outcome of US Presidential Elections for the last thirty years, but so far he has said that 2012 elections is “still too close to call”.
“I’m almost ready to call but not quite, because it is so close,” he told CMC later in an interview.
Measuring the two candidates President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on his MOCIM scale, Edwards said both are fairly equal in points on Money and Organisation. He said President Obama has the edge over Romney on the Candidate as a Campaigner while Romney has the edge on Issues. Regarding Media, Obama is in front but he believes Romney is gaining ground.
However, despite the intellectual calculations, Edwards maintains that the state of the US Economy is the fundamental issue for this elections.
“Clearly the question of the economy, how are things going economically; what about unemployment,” Edwards said in response to a question about what would put the next president in office.
Meanwhile, in what has been described as an unprecedented move in US Presidential elections President Barack Obama went to the polls on Thursday in his hometown Chicago, to cast his vote – taking advantage of the early voter process there.
This is the first time a sitting president has done that and Obama has encouraged others who fear that other commitments may hinder them from going to the polls on November 6th to vote early.©