The battle for the White House is very fierce, not close to what incumbent President Barack Obama saw in his challenge of ‘Change’ and the ‘yes we can’ slogan in 2008 against more popular Arizona Senator and renowned war veteran John McCain.
This time, it is with a presumptive Republican nominee who is wealthy grounded in business and acclaimed as a favourite to create more jobs for Americans and revamp the US economy.
Even with reasonable improvements in jobs created and better but modest growth of the economy, the highest since Obama inherited the economic mess left behind by Republican Predecessor, George Bush, Jnr. Americans still remain divide over which of the two Presidential contenders is better suited for the White House job.
However, most gallop polls prefer Romney as a better candidate to create jobs, while many Americns expressed empathy with the incumbent.
But the first of three Presidential debates, generally adjudged to have been won by Challenger Mitt Romney opened the race in a manner never contemplated by bookmakers. Truth however, was that Romney emerged more likeable than the Obama campaigns initially portrayed him and which resulted in a rare momentum that left the presidential race in a dead-heat.
Although, Obama was presumed winner of the subsequent second and third debates, the Romney momentum went further than imagined and not merely succeeded in rallying the hitherto skeptical Republican base but also created ample doubts in minds of Independents.
As at Monday last week, just before Super Storm Sandy, virtually all polls were either tied or in favour of Romney. In fact, polls according to States by Wednesday showed Romney garnering majority of 26 States as against Obama’s 22 while three States remained tossups.
The ice breaker thus became among other variables, handling of Super Storm Sandy in States within the North East and more importantly, the closing arguments by the candidates, particularly in battle ground States like Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
The outcome of elections in these States also depend on a good number of variables, among them fanatical response of undecided voters, among them White males and seniors for Romney and African Americans for Obama.
After the Super Storm Sandy, Obama’s Presidential handling earned him two major endorsements, one from major Republican Governor of New Jersy Chris Christie who preferred Obama by 64 per cent to fellow Republican Romney 36 per cent. Also, New York major, a Republican turned-Independent, Michael Bloomberg also endorsed Obama because of the Democrat’s drive towards Climate Change and the president’s proactive measures in tackling the stormy disasters.
See Sandy: Blessing In Disguise)
Even so, most polls predict a tied race with Romney leading Obama in most states and Obama leading in others.
Each of the candidates require a minimum of 270 electoral votes to win the White House. So, what does electoral vote mean in the U.S. How can a candidate win elections in the USA, is it by majority of American votes?
If so, why did Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore lose to incumbent George Bush in 2004?
In that year, for instance, there were a total of 538 electoral votes available with 270 need to win. Republican George W. Bush with 50,456,002 popular votes won 286 electoral votes, while his Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won the popular vote with 50,999,837 votes but won only 251 electoral votes. Bush was elected president.
So what is the likely scenario this year? Republican Mitt Romney leads in more states and is likely to garner majority votes, were the elections held yesterday, while Obama is more secure with more electoral votes of likely to hit the 271 mark on account of his control of states with bigger electoral votes.
But is that possible? How? Why? A look at the Electoral College votes from each state and a little maths will tell that the electoral system makes it possible for a candidate to actually lose the nationwide popular vote, but be elected president by the electoral college.
Soye Wilson Jamabo with Agency reports