Economy : The determining factor of US November 4 polls

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A US political analyst has said only the candidate that is able to convincingly articulate his economic and foreign relations policy will win the country’s presidential election, while also raising doubts about the authenticity of the opinion polls in the run up to the 4 Nov. polls.

Prof. Clyde Wilcox of the University of Georgetown in the US, an expert in electoral behaviours, made the statement during a video conference with Nigerian journalists Thursday.

The conference was organised by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Nigeria.

“First of all is the state of the economy in any country. If the economy is bad, if the people can’t get jobs, if they are losing their homes and if they can’t get money they get worried.

”Right now here (in the US), the economy is very bad, stock market is also down by 30%. Many people are losing their homes, many people are losing their jobs and losing their health insurance. In fact, many people are scared about the economy,” Prof. Wilcox said.

He said another event that might affect the election is the development outside the U.S. as well as the engagement of the government.

For example, he said, Americans want an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, and the stand of the candidates on the issue may influence the voters.

He said US public opinion seems not to faviour continued American engagement outside its shores while the economy seems to be going down.

On opinion polls being conducted ahead of the elections, Prof. Wilcox, whose research and teaching interest centre on public opinion, electoral behaviour, religion and gender politics, hinted that conducting an accurate opinion polls is becoming more difficult.

He said currently, more than 90% of the voters were refusing to be part of the surveys for one reason or another.

The US expert said contrary to the belief in some quarters, race would not play an issue in the 4 Nov. elections.

“We do know that some people may not vote for Obama,because is African American, but we also know that there is great enthusiasm among African Americans. A lot of people also think John MCcain should win. I don’t think that race is going to be a factor in this election,” he added.

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