Near finish line, but far from being home
- Navy officer dies on board INS Kolkata off Mumbai
- Subrata Roy to remain in Tihar, Supreme Court calls Sahara's proposal "dishonourable"
- I'm not a terrorist, Modi should have met me: Arvind Kejriwal
- Modi's next round of Chai pe charcha doesn't have police permission yet
- SC issues notice to Centre on Kiran Reddy's PIL against creation of Telangana
The long countdown to the 45th US presidential election — the debate on whether Barack Obama is the 43rd or 44th president continues because of Grover Cleveland's wins in 1884 and 1892 — has finally come down to the last momentous 24 hours. Alongside is the mounting worry that this race has become too close to call, and may end up as a variation of the 2004 election when Al Gore won the popular vote but George Bush wrested the White House because of the complicated US electoral system.
In the dying hours of a race that has gone on for 17 months and cost $3 billion, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and their running mates are scheduled to hold 14 campaign rallies in eight states. Unlike in India, campaigning here doesn't close 48 hours before the ballots open, and every last second is being packed with promises.
Over the last 24 hours, according to two polls, Obama seems to have managed a slender lead. The Washington Post-ABC News poll showed him at 49 per cent to Romney's 48 per cent, while the Pew Research Center's poll on Sunday found Obama at 49 per cent to Romney's 45 per cent, because of his able handling of the crisis triggered by Superstorm Sandy.
Only CNN remained doggedly on the middle path: both candidates, it said, were deadlocked at 49 per cent.
Here in New York though, the frustration of being poor and out-of-sorts in a city that celebrates wealth, power, youth and beauty, although not necessarily in that order, is showing in the sinews, and may even overwhelm the enormity of the moment: Obama or Romney? A man who believes in the power of the egalitarian idea or a man who believes that "America's 47 per cent" must pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Once again a black man in the White House, or a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant comfortable with asset management?