Consumer confidence will lead to Obama win

Obama will see a second term thanks to healthier housing market

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Consumer confidence will lead to Obama win
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Consumer confidence will lead to Obama win

COMMENTARY | Last week a reporter asked me whether or not I thought President Barack Obama had done enough during the foreclosure crisis.

I told him no, of course, and that if Obama does not win a second term, it would be because of housing. When Obama campaigned back in 2008, he campaigned as a populist, yet that did not hold over once he took office. He has at times seemed more interested in bailing out banks than homeowners.

If Gov. Mitt Romney had more strongly positioned himself as the candidate for Main Street, rather than as an advocate for big business, then perhaps this election would not be as close as it is.

But he too has failed to realize the importance of housing as a political issue. The folks in foreclosure and its impact on the real estate market, even days before the election, just is not being talked about by both political parties.

Most homeowners I have come across are keenly aware of this fact. So if neither candidate has done enough to address how to stabilize the housing market, then who wins?

I wasn't certain before Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc on the Northeast. But now in the storm's aftermath, we are seeing a president who is taking charge, and as they say, being presidential. And when you have staunch Republicans like Gov. Chris Christie singing the president's praises, you have to wonder if Romney's window of opportunity has closed.

There are other indicators that indicate that the pendulum has swung back toward the incumbent.

I keep coming back to consumer confidence levels. If you want to gauge how the American voter is thinking, look at the consumer confidence index, which currently sits at 72.2, the highest it has been since Obama took office.

Despite what some right-wing pundits might have you believe, the economy is improving, and it is certainly better than it was in 2008.

Now is the economy healthy? Perhaps not, but slowly a sense of normalcy is beginning to return to the marketplace. Gas prices have for the moment backed away from the $4 mark. And yes, housing numbers are also creeping back up.

There are a few less homes underwater, and a few more building permits. More and more Americans are becoming increasingly mobile, which leads to more jobs being filled and more homes being bought.

While no one can suggest the housing market is robust, it is healthier than it has been in quite some time.

And as each poll shows the swing states going ever-so-slightly back toward the president, it appears to me that he will come out of this election victorious, although with more than a few scratches.

I think even the president, if he were caught in a candid moment, would admit he made mistakes. He might even admit that there were "gaps" in his leadership, as Bob Woodward suggested in his recent book.

But hopefully Obama, who has seemed so in-command while facing victims of the hurricane, can remain so when he finally has a heart-to-heart with homeowners.

From Wall Street to Main Street, real estate attorney Roy Oppenheim is the co-founder of Oppenheim Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Weston Title. He is also creator of the South Florida Law Blog, where he frequently provides "From the Trenches" commentaries.

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