"Despite of Obama’s Current Success, Americans are Still Hesitating" – Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 June / Trend corr E. Tariverdiyeva/ Despite of current success of US Democratic Party's candidate Barack Obama amongst a half of voters, Americans have not yet made a final decision and McCain may have good chances for presidency, provided he follows a correct strategy.

"I expect things will tighten up at the presidential level," American elections expert Bert A.Rockman, Head and Professor of Political Science Department at Purdue University, said.

Newsweek's poll revealed that 51% of Americans are to vote for Obama, 47, and only 36% intend to vote for McCain, 71.

According to Rockman, one has to be careful about polls this early. Dukakis was also ahead of Bush I at this time in 1988. "Recent surveys are showing Obama with leads from six percent to fifteen percent. Whether he is able to maintain these leads remains to be seen," he said to Trend via e-mail.

"I expect things will tighten up at the presidential level, but that Obama has in this year to much going for him to lose. Put more precisely, the Republican nominee has to much going against him, I think, to win. The Republican brand name is currently in disrepute with the American public. People really do want change. Obama has to go into the contest as the favorite precisely because there is so much hostility toward the incumbents and the Republican party and concern about the future," said Rockman.

Charles Henry, Professor of UC-Berkeley, stated no one can accurately predict what will happen with the polls.

"Much depends on how the economy and the war in Iraq go. If both improve the race will be much closer than it looks now. Michael Dukakis had a similar lead over George H.W. Bush in 1988 and lost by a comfortable margin," Henry said to Trend via e-mail.

"This election is Barak Obama's to lose," said Kenneth Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer, Board Member, Executive Committee Member of Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.

"His jump in the polls now is partly predictable as he is the "new face" for 2008," he said to Trend via e-mail.

"The race will naturally tighten between now and November. If Obama sticks with his predictably liberal positions on taxes, foreign policy and domestic spending, the race will tighten long before November. He has to reassure voters that he is different than his Senate voting record suggests," Weinstein said.

Rockman said "here is McCain's difficulty -- he needs that Republican base, but he also needs to play up his independence from Bush and even from his currently unpopular party."

"However, McCain is running better than his party. That could be for a lot of reasons -- some that may be very temporary (the Democrats' long battle for the nomination and the bad feelings resulting from that) and some such as racial issues and cultural issues that are deeper and more likely to influence the outcome in November," Rockman said.

"Presidential elections, more than congressional elections, tend to have a large personal element, and McCain probably can neutralize Obama on the personal side. If he does that, he may gain independents but he will lose his base, which is a bit suspicious of him anyway," he said.

"Probably, the first thing he has to do is to make Obama the issue and not him. But that too is tricky. Clinton plowed the same ground before him and failed," he said.

According to Rockman, touting a hard line on Iraq is definitely not a winner.

"More tax breaks for the very well off probably will not do it either. I just don't see any issue other than "he (Obama) is inexperienced and naive, and I'm experienced and worldy" that McCain can rely on," he added.

Rockman said McCain has a very difficult road ahead. "I think he has to emphasize his personal traits, critique Obama as not ready yet, and get away from things that tie him to the current unpopular Bush administration and the currently unpopular Republican brand -- and most of its associated policies."

According to Henry, McCain needs to reassure voters that he is the embodiment of reform and change, that he is not George Bush's third term. He needs to distance himself significantly from the President on the economy and on foreign policy while pointing out Obama's evident flaws. If he does this, Obama's lead will shrink and McCain can win in November.

According to Newsweek, in May, 2008, equal number of electors intended to vote for Obama and McCain - 46%. However, since that time, Obama managed to oust senator Clinton from election race and to expand his supporter rows.

"Twice as many people cite McCain's age than Obama's race as an issue likely to affect their vote," Rockman said.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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