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It’s Obama all the way for Oxford’s U.S. expats
Buy this photo » Bill Barnard, who was brought up in Alabama and now lives in Oxford, is expecting a close US election next Tuesday
IT’S the election which has even got Oxford’s best brains baffled.
Academics at Oxford University are struggling to predict how next week’s American election will pan out.
Nigel Bowles, the director of the university’s Rothermere American Institute, said: “It is too close to predict.
“The polls are within the margin of statistical error.
“This race is extraordinarily close and it is not possible to say with any confidence what so ever what the outcome will be.”
Dr Bowles said his colleagues at the institute were having just as much difficulty predicting a result.
According to the BBC’s most recent poll on Sunday Republican Mitt Romney, below right, is predicted to win 49 per cent of the vote while incumbent Democrat Barack Obama, below left, is predicted to win 47 per cent.
Bookmaker William Hill puts Mr Obama as the favourite to win the election, with odds of 1/3 while Mitt Romney is 9/4.
Banbury Road resident Bill Barnard, 70, who was brought up in Alabama but has lived in the UK since the late 1990s, is backing Obama. He aid: “It will be a close election which will come down to the votes in the swing states.
“The USA is becoming an increasingly divided nation.
“The expectations of Obama were extraordinarily high and it was inevitable that there would be some disappointment.”
Mary Ann Cardy, 65, who was brought up in Indiana but now lives in Westbury Crescent, Cowley, said: “The biggest problem in the US is the polarisation.
“I don’t know what will happen.
“It’s going to be close but I am really hoping that people have sense enough to realised that they need to give Obama another four years.
“I voted for Obama in 2008, but I feel that he reached road blocks with the Republicans in Congress and they weren’t willing to compromise.”
Student Eva Lam, 25, of the Oxford branch of Democrats Abroad said: “I worked on Obama’s campaign in 2008. There was a lot of optimism then but it has been replaced by an understanding of the alternative that Romney represents.”
Earlier this year Oxford was one of the few locations in the UK where American Democrats could cast their vote in person for the primary elections to select their candidate. When the primary was held in Oxford in 2008 the city voted for Obama, with 118 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 26, and in May, the city again supported Obama with 77 per cent of the vote.
The only way for Oxford-based Americans to vote in the Presidential election next Tuesday is by absentee ballot sent electronically.
Artist Ted Dewan, who is originally from Boston but now lives in Beechcroft Road, Summertown, said: “I am definitely going to be voting for Obama again. I am hoping he gets another term because it takes four years to learn the job and another four years to see it through.
“Here in the UK we only have six weeks of electioneering and I am really glad I live here because months of negativity during the campaign really gets to you.
“The thing that bugs me the most is this whole way of pillorying the administration for Obamacare. There are some horror stories about private health insurance and we are so lucky to have the NHS.”
The UK branch of Republicans Abroad did not comment.
How the US elections work
US presidential elections are held in November every four years, but the process begins in the preceding January when the parties select their candidates in the primary elections.
Voters declare support for one party or another during the primaries and select delegates who have pledged to vote for a particular candidate.
These delegates gather at the party’s national convention and vote for a candidate for that party.
On election day itself voters pick members of the electoral college who support their candidate.
Each state has a different number of electoral college members depending on its representation in Congress.
Candidates with the most votes in each state then win those electors. Electors can in theory vote otherwise – and are dubbed “faithless electors” although this rarely happens.
To win the election a candidate needs to win the support of 270 members of the electoral college. The electors then cast their votes in December to elect the President.