United States: Presidential race heats up
October 23, 2012
The presidential race is heating up ahead of the 6 November vote, when the United States will hold presidential and congressional elections. The polls currently suggest that President Barack Obama and Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney are virtually tied in their race for the White House. President Obama had held a comfortable majority up until the end of September, but Romney has recovered most of the lost ground in recent weeks in the wake of the first televised debate between the two candidates. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is expected to maintain its majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives where, according to polls, Republicans will secure a minimum of 226 seats. The outcome of the Senate race - where only a third of the seats are up for re-election and where the Democratic Party currently holds a slim majority - remains too close to call. If President Obama is re-elected for a second term and the Republican Party obtains a majority in one or both of the two houses of Congress, this would lead to what is known as a "divided government", therefore increasing the possibility of political stalemate in the country. With the so-called "fiscal cliff" - a series of major tax breaks and spending programmes amounting to some USD 600 billion that runs out on 31 December - looming, the economic outlook for 2013 continues to be overshadowed by political developments in the coming months.