President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are “in a 50-50 election right now,” political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax.TV, adding that the president is lacking the crucial Jewish vote in Florida needed to win the election.
“I could make a compelling argument why either side is going to win,” Schoen tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “But I will say this: There’s never been as much at stake in an election in recent memory as there is in this one.
“Two competing views, two competing visions, and – from where I sit – this is a fight and a contest that has transcended importance for ourselves and for our children.”
One of Obama's biggest hurdles: capturing Florida's Jewish voters. The president, polls show, has about 60-65 percent of the Jewish vote, but, says Schoen, if Obama does not win “a full 75 percent...it could, in fact, be decisive.”
The state is “effectively deadlocked,” said Schoen, the author of “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond.”
“Jews are necessarily torn, because they see the president as somebody who, aspirationally, has committed himself to Israel,” he said. “At the same time, there have been concerns about the settlement policy and also about the nature of his commitment to do whatever it takes in Iran.
“Now I would tell you he has provided probably more advanced weapons systems to Israel than any president before, but – nonetheless – there are these nagging concerns in the Jewish community that just haven’t gone away.”
In addition, the Newsmax contributor said in the exclusive interview that:
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- The 2012 election could easily be “a deadlocked election, with deadlocked states and multiple recounts,” echoing the 2000 contest between Vice President Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush.
- The Middle East is too volatile to speculate on whether the United States should become actively involved there. “We very much hope that there is no conflict.”
Schoen said that recent polls placing a premium on Romney’s business credentials can be viewed two ways.
“On one hand, people do believe that Mitt Romney is well-equipped and arguably better equipped than President Obama to handle our deteriorating and declining economic position.
“At the same time, other polls show that there are real doubts about Gov. Romney – the outsourcing of jobs, his handling of his taxes, his offshore accounts, and the like – and, ultimately, those doubts combined with real doubts about President Obama have produced a race now that is about as close to dead-even as you could possibly imagine.
“We could well have a deadlocked election, with deadlocked states and multiple recounts,” Schoen said.
Schoen, also a contributor for Fox News, said while recent polls show the former Massachusetts governor ahead of Obama, “the electoral map still favors the president.”
“He’s got somewhere between 220 to 250 electoral votes, depending on whose estimate you believe,” he said. “And I think that, while the month of June ultimately was not a necessarily kind to President Obama, the race is still a toss-up.”
Schoen added that Senate Republicans are taking a great political risk in voting this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all income earners – particularly since President Obama wants them extended only to those earning less than $250,000 a year.
“Most Americans think the wealthy can pay more,” Schoen said. “At the same time, they understand that the wealthy paying more is not going to solve our economic problems, as the president seems to suggest.
“So the Republicans want to appear to have a broad vision that goes beyond just protecting the wealthy. At the same time, the Democrats are trying to make this a class-based election.”
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