Florida Lt Governor Jennifer Carroll said the 2012 US elections may have low voter turnout as unemployment and loss of homes have people very dejected.
She was delivering a lecture "The US Elections, Florida and the Caribbean" at the Law Faculty, University of the West Indies, St Augustine. The Trinidad-born Lt Governor is visiting this country on a trade mission.
She recalled in 2008 there was "an unprecedented nuance" and there was a moment to make history as the country had never elected a black person, Barack Obama, as president. She noted, however, that in this year's election the nuance was "not there" and also predicted that it will be "contentious".
"For this election you could possibly see a low voter turn-out because people have been so dejected and so fed up, particularly with the housing market. People lost their homes, they're living out of cars, they're back with their parents or grandparents, they have just given up," she said.
She said people are "very tired and stressed and holding on to the very little they have". She expressed hope that they were not "hopeless" as their vote was critical.
Carroll said there was voter apathy in her country and that was "sad" as it should be very important to everyone who gets elected.
She noted in US talk shows they would ask people on the street who the president was and some people did not know. She said the US was one of the most powerful nations in the world but it was very sad that it was more important to people who "J-Lo" (singer Jennifer Lopez) was or who was voted off American Idol than who was the president.
Carroll noted that after she took office about 19 months ago unemployment in her state dropped from 12 per cent to eight per cent, faster than nationally. She explained that they streamlined regulation, adjusted taxation system and changed from focusing to unemployment to reemployment, and suggested the federal government could take a page out of their book.