The deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel in Libya and anti-American protests throughout much of the Muslim world may have temporarily refocused the presidential campaign, but the economy remains the key issue for most Nevada voters. We spoke to Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno, to find out what to expect in the week ahead in presidential politics.
They say the economy’s the fulcrum of this election, but are we having the conversation we need?
“The specifics of the economy are not driving the discussion right now. Instead, it’s become an election about feelings, the belief that one or the other candidate will do a better job. Right now, Obama has the momentum and the conversation is largely about that momentum rather than the economy or any underlying facts, which is good news for Obama and bad news for Romney.”
Will the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions alter the tone and content of the debate?
“I’m looking to see if [a change] like that surfaces. [Foreign policy] has been totally missing in action, but every once in a while the world rears its ugly head at you.”
How do you think Nevada voters are responding to the framing of the issues by the candidates and their surrogates?
“The electorate is more sophisticated than what your Super PAC ads are trying to package. People have seen so many of these ads that they’re asking: ‘Who do I think reaches out to me? Who has a better vision? Who do I like?’ Nobody believes any one person is either responsible for or can solve the nation’s underlying economic problems … and Obama’s winning the ‘gut’ war.”