US election down to wire

By Chen Yiming in Los Angeles and Yang Jingjie in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-6 1:00:05

US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney spent Monday making last-ditch efforts to woo undecided voters and mobilize their supporters to get out the vote ahead of a tight race culminating on Tuesday.

The presidential election has also struck a chord with many people around the world, including those in China who have been following the race out of concern for the future of Sino-US relations and curiosity toward the US political system.

According to Reuters, national polls show Obama and Romney essentially deadlocked ahead of Tuesday's election, although Obama has a slight advantage in the eight or nine battleground states that will decide the winner.

Obama will close his campaign on Monday with a final blitz across Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa - three Midwestern states that would be enough to get him more than the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

Romney will visit his must-win states of Florida and Virginia, where polls show he is slightly ahead or tied, along with Ohio before concluding in New Hampshire.

Among the four key battleground states of Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, analysts have singled out Ohio, which has 18 electoral votes, as the most critical. No Republican has won the White House without taking Ohio since the Civil War.

Yu Wanli, a professor with the School of International Studies under Peking University, told the Global Times that the state is likely to go to Obama.

According to Yu, the tariffs imposed on imported Chinese tires in 2009 and this year's complaint filed with the WTO against China's anti-dumping and countervailing duties over US-made cars were all part of an electoral strategy to win over Ohio, where one in eight jobs are linked to the auto industry.

However, the devastating storm Sandy that hit the US East Coast last week may add more uncertainty to the race by affecting voter turnout

"A low turnout would be unfavorable for the Democrats, because turnout of supporters for the Republic party is always higher," said Yu.

Aside from Dixville Notch, the New Hampshire village whose 12 residents vote just after midnight Tuesday, the earliest polling stations open at 6 am in Virginia and New Hampshire, with the results set to come out around midday on Wednesday Beijing time.

The US embassy in Beijing will hold a public event on Wednesday morning, showing the real-time results of the election. Although the results will come in during working hours, many Chinese have shown their interest.

Videos of presidential debates  were posted online and have been viewed by huge numbers of Chinese people.

"As the only superpower, US domestic and foreign policies have great implications for the world. People are concerned over its monetary and trade policies as well as Sino-US relations," Yuan Zheng, a researcher with the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Meanwhile, Yu also noted that the year-long race had been an appealing political show in the eyes of Chinese people.

A recent AFP-Ipsos poll showed a hefty 63 percent of around 1,000 Chinese respondents said they wanted Obama to be re-elected.

The online poll conducted in September and October also suggested that 58.3 percent of Chinese surveyed thought Obama would be the best US president for Asian economic growth, and 56.3 percent said Obama was better for peace and security in Asia.

Yuan attributed the results to Romney's attacks against China throughout the race, during which he said he would label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in the White House.

However, the poll showed Romney's popularity was highest among older Chinese and in less developed second-tier cities and inland population centers.

Agencies contributed to this story


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