Pour quelle raison Obama est-il en train de gagner ?

PRINCETON – James Carville, le stratégiste en chef de la campagne électorale de Bill Clinton en 1992, a exprimé un principe fermement établi d’initié concernant la manière de gagner les élections au moyen d’une formule désormais célèbre : « C’est l’économie, idiot ! ». Les candidats gagnent les élections si les perspectives économiques semblent bonnes et sont vulnérables – comme l’était George H. W. Bush – lorsque les temps sont difficiles. En fait, dans l’ensemble de l’Europe, en France, en Grèce, en Irlande, au Portugal, en Espagne et au Royaume-Uni – les gouvernements ont perdu leur mandat face à une crise qu’ils semblaient incapables de gérer.

Selon ce critère, le président Barack Obama devrait être aujourd’hui dans une situation désespérée. D’après le Bureau du recensement des Etats-Unis, les revenus des ménages ont reculé pour la quatrième année consécutive en 2011. Le chômage reste élevé malgré le plan de relance de 787 milliards de dollars de 2009 et les prix de l’immobilier, qui se rétablissent peu à peu, sont très en dessous de leur niveau record d’avant 2008.

Il semble pourtant qu’Obama sera réélu en novembre. L’une des raisons est qu’il n’existe aucune manière fiable de juger instantanément de l’efficacité de mesures économiques et que la situation dont a hérité Obama – prenant ses fonctions en pleine tourmente sociale et économique – a clairement son importance. Le président américain George W. Bush et le Premier ministre britannique Gordon Brown sont bien évidemment plus responsables de la crise financière que ne le sont leurs successeurs, qui doivent réparer les pots cassés.

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