©Jim Young/Reuters

Obama vs. Romney: Is it the economy, stupid?

An examination of opinion poll trends

Are you able to make sense of the barrage of opinion poll data that is currently being published in the lead up to the US presidential election on 6 November? Bruce Stokes, Director of Pew Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center, sheds light on the poll trends and assesses to what extent issues such as the economy will be deciding factors when voters approach the ballot box.

In 1992, when Bill Clinton ran for president, his mantra was “It’s the economy, stupid!”. He believed that joblessness and slow growth were the only issues that concerned voters. In 2012, American voters again tell pollsters that the economy is the most important national challenge as they decide their vote. Nevertheless, non-economic concerns may ultimately determine who becomes the next president of the US.

Many voters, especially those in the swing states that may ultimately determine the outcome of the election, say they trust Republican candidate Mitt Romney more than president Barack Obama to do a better job dealing with the economy, unemployment and the budget deficit. But personality traits may also play a decisive role. And voters strongly think Obama better understands ordinary Americans, is more honest and consistent.

Moreover, in swing states, women say it is abortion and equal pay for equal work that are more important issues than the economy. And Obama holds a significant lead among female voters who, in the 2008 US presidential election, out-voted men by 10 million votes. So, on 6 November 2012, it will again be the economy, stupid. But the outcome of the election may also depend on character and women’s issues. Bruce Stokes, 28 October 2012

You can view Mr Stokes's insightful charts updated for the OECD Observer by clicking here

Visit www.pewresearch.org

Visit www.oecd.org/unitedstates and www.oecdforum.org

©OECD Observer No 293, Q4 2012





Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Editor's choice

  • Gender wage gap
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Gender mainstreaming: French young lady working in an engine assembly plant. Women and men on the same boat when it comes to job insecurity. © Raphaël Helle / Signatures / La France VUE D'ICI
  • Composite leading indicators
  • 2015, a year full of dangers? Laurent Bossard, director of the Sahel and West Africa Club, acknowledges that the situation in the region is complex and unstable but refuses to give in to fatalism.
  • The 5th Anti-corruption conference for G20 governments and business in Istanbul on 6 March will address how all businesses can play their part in contributing to growth and investment, and can operate with clean hands in a safe environment.
  • Success story. Discover the story of this young Ethiopian woman who launched a successful business in the footwear industry and became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship.
  • Transports in Asia. The Asian Development Bank advocates sustainable transport in a continent where vehicle ownership is perceived as a sign of social success.
  • Vote for your favourite photograph! This World Bank #EachDayISee photo contest aims to display visual stories from all over the world through which people express what they would like to see changed and improved.
  • Why is investment so low in the euro area? This short IMF blog post gives you an insight into the causes of the euro-zone's drastic decline in investment.
  • Have your say! The UN wants to know what matters most to you: pick six global issues in the list and send it to the United Nations.
  • Clear air and healthy lungs: how to better tackle air pollution. From New Delhi to Accra, millions of people breathe polluted air. A new report examines the World Bank’s experience working to improve air quality.
  • The boring secret of great cities. Plenty of things make a city great but what really makes a difference originates in the structure of municipal government according to the OECD's report "The Metropolitan Century".
  • Guinea gets $37.7 million in extra IMF financing to help combat Ebola
  • World Water Day: 22 March 2015 For World Water Day, UN-Water identifies upcoming challenges and sets the theme for the years to come. In 2015, the theme for World Water Day is Water and Sustainable Development.

Most Popular Articles

Subscribe Now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Poll

What issue are you most concerned about in 2015?

Euro crisis
Unemployment
Global warming
International conflict
Other

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2015