Both British and US interests would be best served by a victory for Mitt Romney
The US election: whether Mitt Romney (above) can eliminate the deficit is not clear. What is beyond doubt, though, is that Mr Obama cannot Photo: AP
By Daniel Hannan
American pollsters will tell you that the presidential candidate who is in the lead going into the party conventions usually wins. Four polls last week showed a tiny lead for Barack Obama, two for Mitt Romney and one was level; all seven were well within the margin of error.
Another rule is that the Gallup poll taken 100 days before the poll foretells the winner. Only once in the past 60 years – the Bush-Dukakis race of 1988 – did that predictor fail. So, what did Gallup show on the date in question? A dead heat, with both candidates on 46 per cent.
Many Europeans wonder why Mr Obama is not comfortably ahead. Most media, both within the US and abroad, portray him as a serene statesman being shouted at by angry Tea Partiers in 18th-century fancy dress. Viewed solely through the medium of a television screen, he seems bigger than his Republican critics. They are presented as a gaggle of anti-abortionists, stump-toothed mountain men and crackpots hoarding gold against the presumed collapse of paper currencies – an extremist coalition led by a plutocrat. Seen from abroad, it looks like an election between Dr Hibbert and Montgomery Burns.
Then again, we don’t have to live with Mr Obama’s domestic policies. We see him doing what he does best: making speeches, carrying out ceremonial duties and reminding the world, simply by holding office, that America had the spirit to move in one generation from the formalised exclusion of black voters to the election of a mixed-race president.
It was largely on these grounds that I supported Mr Obama four years ago. I was distressed by the Republican Party’s abandonment of free markets for crony capitalism. I thought that Mr Obama’s election would wipe away the stain of segregation. And, frankly, I enjoyed his speeches.