Obama and Romney hit final stretch of US presidential campaign
The final four days before the US Presidential Election are crucial as voters will decide between a second term for President Obama or a change to Republican challenger Romney.
As the two candidates began a round-the-clock marathon of campaigning in swing states, polls on Friday showed Obama ahead in most of the battlegrounds, including Ohio, seen as a swing state.
Three polls in Ohio on Friday put Obama in the lead; the latest CNN poll had the President on 50% to Romney’s 47%. The New York Times poll increased Obama’s chances of winning to 80%.
With polls showing the candidates locked in one of the closest presidential contests in recent US history, Obama argues that the economy is slowly, well on the way to recovery from the Great Recession.
The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9% from 7.8 % in September because the work force grew. Unemployment remains below 8%, the lowest rate since Obama took office in 2009.
While this could attract undecided voters toward Obama in the closing days of the campaign for the White House, the candidates were expected to go into Election Day in a virtual tie.
With the economy being the biggest issue for voters, Obama has claimed credit for preventing deeper problems, reminding voters of the economy under George W. Bush.
Romney argues the continued economic weakness demonstrates Obama’s policy failures and says his own record as a successful businessman proves he can do better.
With the new report, both candidates were plunging into a hectic pace of campaigning, with Obama eager to fend off Romney in the crucial battleground state of Ohio.
Romney pushed to expand the contest to other states, to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win, like Pennsylvania, which has routinely backed the Democrats.
Polls show Obama holds a slight lead in a majority of the battleground contests where the outcome of the vote is likely to be determined.
Under the US system, the nationwide popular vote does not determine the winner. Romney and Obama are competing to win 270 electoral votes in state-by-state contests.
Obama had three stops in Ohio with Romney set to hold two rallies there. Obama stopped campaigning for three days this week to manage the crisis surrounding Superstorm Sandy.
Romney stopped criticising the President during those days in fear of appearing to seek political advantage while Americans were suffering.
Romney’s campaign stood on the sidelines and watched awkwardly as once-critic, New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie, praised Obama and toured damages with him.
Obama also won the endorsement of New York City’s popular mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the storm had made the election’s stakes even clearer.
Bloomberg, whose city was hit hard, said the climate is changing and that Obama has taken major steps in the right direction on that issue.
The vote of confidence from the politically independent third-term mayor of America’s largest city was a major boost for Obama. Both candidates eagerly sought his backing, a former Republican, who did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2008.
The Presidential Elections will take place on Tuesday 6th November.