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World News: Obama edges into the lead in U.S. presidential race

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World News: Obama edges into the lead in U.S. presidential race | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Race tight in 4 states, Obama holds slight edge
Reuters

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are neck and neck in four of the most hotly contested states in next week’s election, but Obama holds a slight advantage in two of them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released yesterday.

The online survey of four battleground states showed Obama leading by 3 percentage points in Ohio and 2 points in Virginia. The two are dead even in Florida, and Romney leads by 1 percentage point in Colorado.

The state-level polls do not show a clear advantage for either candidate in any of those states going into Tuesday’s election, as each race falls within the poll’s credibility interval, the tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polls.

But taken together, they indicate that Obama holds a slight edge in the state-by-state battle to rack up the 270 electoral votes needed to control the White House.

Since many of the largest states are considered solidly Democratic, Romney needs to win most of the nine or so states that are considered to be truly competitive in the election.

For Romney, winning the White House without winning Ohio will be difficult, and Obama leads there by 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters. That margin is just within the survey’s credibility interval of 3.8 percentage points.

“That’s enough of a difference to give him an edge, if not a decisive lead,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.

In Virginia, Obama leads by a narrower margin of 48 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, within the credibility interval of 4.2 percentage points. Among all registered voters, Obama leads by a much wider margin of 54 percent to 37 percent.

In Florida, the two are tied at 47 percent each.

Colorado is the only state in which Romney holds a lead, by 46 percent to 45 percent, well within the credibility interval of 4.1 percentage points.

“These are swing states because the vote is always very, very close. They all went Democratic in 2008, they all went Republican in 2004 and they’re on the knife’s edge right now,” Clark said.

NECK AND NECK AT NATIONAL LEVEL

Nationwide, Obama leads Romney among likely voters by a statistically insignificant margin of 47 percent to 46 percent, the online survey found. The numbers were unchanged from Tuesday and neither candidate has held a clear lead since early October.

Gallup and several other polls have suspended activity since Monday because of Hurricane Sandy, which left millions without power along the East Coast, but Clark said she saw little evidence the disaster had affected the four-day survey’s results.

“Our numbers haven’t gone strange on us,” Clark said. “We’re still getting interviews from those areas.” Ipsos has monitored response rates and not seen a significant difference due to Sandy, she said.

Some 24 percent of those surveyed nationally said they had already cast their ballots, providing further evidence that early voting will play a larger role than ever in the election. Among those who had not yet voted, a quarter said they planned to cast their ballots before Election Day.

Obama led Romney by 53 percent to 41 percent among the 1,660 respondents who said they had already voted.

Although the race remains tight, 52 percent expected Obama to win. Only 30 percent said they thought Romney would win.

The state polls showed Democratic candidates in Ohio and Florida leading by wider margins than the presidential race.

In Ohio, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown led Republican Josh Mandel by 49 percent to 41 percent.

In Florida, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson led Republican Connie Mack by 52 percent to 42 percent among likely voters.

Only in Virginia did the Senate race mirror the presidential race. Democrat Tim Kaine led Republican George Allen by 2 percentage points, well within the survey’s credibility interval.

The Reuters/Ipsos database is now public and searchable by clicking here.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 deaths surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients’ “brain fog”

The Thaiger

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Covid-19 deaths surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients’ “brain fog” | The Thaiger

The world’s Covid-19-related deaths has passed the 1 million mark overnight as the the cycle of the world’s lockdowns and re-openings are getting mixed results. As of this morning, Thai time, the number of total deaths has reached 1,002,389, with 4,000-6,000 deaths still being recorded, globally, every day. And rising. On a more positive note, the number of daily deaths continues to level off, even dropping some weeks, as treatments continue to improve and the virus is better understood. At this stage, officially, only 0.42% of the world’s population has so far been infected, according to worldometers.info.

The milestone comes in a week where another report from the UK catalogues the “brain fog” experienced by former Covid-19 sufferers.

Covid-19 deaths surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients'
The current hotspots for the virus, now 9 months in circulation, of new daily cases is led by India. Yesterday, India added 82,000+ cases to the world total whilst the US is showing a resurgence in new cases after dropping the average down during August. There is also a resurgence in new cases in parts of Europe, including the UK, which is now recording more new cases than it was at its peak in the first wave in April and May this year. The following graphs records the top 10 countries for new Covid-19 cases recorded yesterday…

Covid-19 deaths surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients'

SOURCE: worldometers.info

Both South America and India are showing the highest rates of new cases, in pure numbers, whilst US health authorities are concerned about the latest surge in new cases as the country starts to head into its autumn and cooler weather.

Meanwhile, more former Covid-19 patients, even those who only suffered mild symptoms, continue to report about long-term effects from the coronavirus.

In Canada, some 130,000 Canadians have recovered but some patients report that they’re experiencing “debilitating side effects” months after their infection. Canadian scientists report that they are finding some of the long-term effects of Covid-19 include heart damage as well as neurological issues like “brain fog” and “difficulty thinking”. Other patients are reporting hair loss, fatigue and even painful lesions called “Covid toes,” many weeks or even months after infection.

One study based out of Italy reports that nearly 90% of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 reported at least one persistent symptom two months later.

39 doctors wrote about these “long-haulers” and their battle with Covid-19 and their persistent symptoms in a manifesto published in the British Medical Journal. Following the report, the doctors called on politicians, scientists and public health officials to conduct more research into chronic Covid-19 symptoms and to create additional clinical services.

“Failure to understand the underlying biological mechanisms causing these persisting symptoms risks missing opportunities to identify risk factors, prevent chronicity, and find treatment approaches for people affected now and in the future.”

The reports also defined the affected patients as not in the current list of “at risk” Covid-19 patients – usually elderly with underlying conditions – but instead representing a much wider demographic of younger and healthy patients who were experiencing the post-Covid symptoms.

SOURCE: BBC | CTV News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

IATA proposes Covid testing before travelling to replace quarantine on arrival

The Thaiger & The Nation

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IATA proposes Covid testing before travelling to replace quarantine on arrival | The Thaiger

The International Air Transport Association is proposing travellers to take a Covid test prior to departure to replace worldwide mandatory quarantines on arrival. The push comes after it announces that international travel is down by 92% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As many countries are imposing mandatory quarantines that can be not only expensive but up to 14 days long, the IATA is calling for all countries to work together to create a pre-flight testing requirement in all airports.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO says that Covid testing is getting faster, cheaper and more accurate, which is why it is urgent to help kick-start the world economy by doing away with mandatory quarantines.

“The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic Covid-19 testing of all travelers before departure. This will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work.”

He says the removal of such quarantine requirements for nations like Canada and UK would also help those nationals to leave their countries confidently by knowing that accurate testing would be in place. IATA has also asked for feedback and says of those travellers polled, 65% agree that if a person tests negative for Covid-19, then they should not have to undergo a quarantine on arrival. 84% also agree that, instead, travellers should be required to get tested with 88% even agreeing that they would submit to testing as part of the travel process.

Over 5000 travel businesses have reportedly backed the IATA’s proposal after submitting an open letter to the president of the European Commission, demanding the EU to take action. However, testing and later vaccinating 7.8 billion people could prove to be a monumental task, one that may take months to devise a streamlined plan to carry out.

SOURCE: Travel Off Path

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Economy

Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand

The Thaiger

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Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand | The Thaiger

Vietnamese finance officials are downgrading expectations for a recovery of the south east Asian nation’s economy in 2021. The normally fast-growing gross domestic product in 2020 has stalled due to a huge drop in local and global demand, and the absence of international tourism. The booming economy, growing at an average of 6% per year since 2012, will struggle to reach a growth rate of 2% this year.

Fuelled by manufactured exports, the Vietnam economy has dropped back to a trickle. The Asian Development Bank estimates that this year’s GDP growth could be as low as 1.8%. The Vietnamese factories, that usually crank out shoes, garments, furniture and cheap electronics, are seeing dropping demand as the world’s consumer confidence drops dramatically.

Stay-at-home rules in Europe and America are keeping are keeping people away from retail stores. And despite the acceleration of online retail, many of the consumers are emerging from the Covid Spring and Summer with vastly reduced spending power.

The headaches of 2020 are also challenging Vietnam to maintain its reputation as south east Asia’s manufacturing hotspot. Rising costs and xenophobic foreign policy have put China ‘on the nose’ with some governments, complicating factory work in China, whilst other south east Asian countries lack infrastructure and are incurring higher wage costs.

One Vietnamese factory operated by Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, which produces footwear for top international brands, has laid off 150 workers earlier this year. There are hundreds more examples of the impact of falling demand in the bustling Vietnamese manufacturing economy.

Vietnam’s border closure is also preventing investors from making trips, setting up meetings and pushing projects forward. Those projects in turn create jobs, fostering Vietnam’s growing middle class. Tourism has also been badly affected by the restrictions on travel. “International tourism is dead,” says Jack Nguyen, a partner at Mazars in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Inbound tourism usually makes up 6% of the economy.”

“Things will only pick up only when the borders are open and there’s no quarantine requirements. Who knows when that’s going to be.”

A mid-year COVID-19 outbreak in the coastal resort city Danang followed by the start of the school year has reduced domestic travel, analysts say. Some of the country’s hotels are up for sale as a result.

“Recovery could take 4 years.”

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is now warning that global post-pandemic recovery could take as long as 4 years, perhaps more.

Not that foreign investors in the country are pulling out. Indeed, many are tainge a long-term view that Vietnam’s underlying strengths will outlive Covid-19. Vietnam reports just 1,069 coronavirus cases overall.

SOURCE: VOA News

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