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Political Column: Can Obama Be Beaten?

Daniel Caccavale

The Republican primary race continues to push on and it still has no definitive winner. As each state holds its primary election and the tallies go up for Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul, the question is quickly shifting from who is the best Republican candidate to lead the country to who can beat President Obama in November? The even bigger question is; can he even be beaten? Of course no candidate is impossible to beat but do any of the four Republican contenders have what it takes to become President?

Part of the question relies on what the American public thinks of Obama going into Election Day. This isn’t looking to good at the moment since Obama has just hit an all time low approval rating of 46.8%, according to The numbers are not exact and could of course fluctuate over the next few months and alter the final election in November. But what about the Republicans; are they really up for the challenge?

America seems to still be unsure about that. Not one of the four major remaining candidates has a clear view of the finish line. Ron Paul, who is currently in last place, has yet to win a single state in the entire primary race. Why would he still continue to run this late without having a single state on his side? Of course he could bounce back and win a few but it probably won’t be enough to give him the nomination. What he can still do is be a spoiler. If Paul drops out, his loyal supporters will have to find another candidate to vote for. So by staying in the race he can at least take the few votes he will get and not have them handed to another candidate. For the rest of the candidates this just means fewer votes to go around, making every other vote count just a bit more.

And then of course there is Newt Gingrich, who is currently third in the race. Gingrich has won just a few states here and there. When the recent elections in Mississippi and Alabama occurred, Gingrich needed to come in better than third or dropping out would be a very real possibility. Although Gingrich didn’t win either state, he managed to pull in second place in both, keeping his hope alive just a bit longer. But even though he won second place, it still doesn’t give him a major push towards first overall. Gingrich made it clear from the beginning that he is in it for the long haul, so it doesn’t seem like he will be giving in any time soon.

So while Paul and Gingrich’s hopes hang on by threads, the two front runners are Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. A few months ago it seemed Romney had a clear victory and no one had ever heard of Santorum. Today, Romney is barely ahead of Santorum and the race is quickly tightening up. Santorum has been racking up the Deep South states such as Alabama, and Mississippi and other major states such as Kansas while Romney is picking up numerous other smaller states. Romney did pick up the majority of states in the Super Tuesday election but the battles in the more important states, such as Ohio, were so close it is almost impossible to tell that Romney had won at all. These states are considered more important because of the size of the population. The higher the population, the higher the number of delegates the state has. So states like Ohio, New York, California, and Texas are worth more than states such as Wyoming or Delaware. Santorum is quickly catching Romney and before long, Santorum could have the lead and a nomination if things continue in the same fashion they have been.

This brings it all back to the original question. Will one of these candidates be able to beat President Obama in November? The answer is still unclear. It is extremely difficult to tell at this point because things are so close at the moment. It does play in his favor that the Republican Party is so divided because if the party can’t pick a clear candidate then how will it ever agree to vote on the same one in the long run. But if Obama’s popularity continues to sink, then it may not look too good in November. It seems yet again that only time will tell what the outcome will be. For now the Republican candidates will fight for the first place spot, and Obama will fight for more popularity among the American people, but it will be the fight in November that will answer all the questions.

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