There has been a lot written about this. Reporters tell us some close to the government have briefed that Mr Obama’s victory is a good omen for Conservatives, because he too is an incumbent presiding over difficult economic times. His victory shows a Conservative victory is possible in 2015.
I am all for a Conservative victory in 2015. If the government does the right things from here such a victory is possible. However, we cannot deduce it from Mr Obama’s win. US and UK politics are very different. The US does not have the overarching problem of the EU and the erosion of its powers of self government, nor does it have our proximity to the Euro and control from Burssels over many important aspects of our economic life. UK Conservatives are not heavily influenced by Christian movements. US attitudes to self help and working are tougher than UK attitudes. If the Conservatives do and say the right things about the EU, about how they will go about getting a new relationship,they can pick up support. If the recovery gathers pace in the last couple of years of this Parliament the economic position could also be better for the Conservatives.They can get support for good immigration and welfare policies which get more people back to work or in work for the first time.
The political arithmetic is also, however, very different between the UK and the US. Mr Obama scored a good victory in 2008. He attracted 52.9% of the popular vote. This election he merely needed to hold on to most of that to win. He lost 2.4% of the popular vote which still left him in the lead. Mr Cameron only attracted 36% of the popular vote in 2010, not enough to win. He needs to attract 4-6% more of the popular vote in 2015 to win, so he needs to make himself and his party more popular. He does not have Mr Obama’s luxury of losing votes.
If the UK is to emulate the US relative success with economic recovery, the government does have to make more progress in mending the banks, and in delivering cheaper energy. The US economy has outperformed ours so far this decade, thanks primarily to going for cheap gas and getting on with sorting out the banks and property values.