Student react to Obama’s re-election On November 6, President Barack Obama secured 303 electoral votes to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s 206 electoral votes, winning the presidential election and retaining his office as president of the United States of America.
Obama’s reelection, coupled with the securing of a Democrat controlled Senate created an important victory for Democrats and a troubling defeat for Republicans. Members on both sides of the party lines thought the results of the election were announced shockingly fast. A vote that was supposed to be very close, possibly requiring recounts and delays for the paper ballots of those affected by Hurricane Sandy, was declared by the major news networks around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Christian Borek, Republican political science major at MC, explained his surprise at the quick result of the election.
“It was shocking that the results were announced so soon with such a small percentage of the votes actually in,” Borek said. “Especially when much of the hard evidence and exit polls pointed to the two candidates being much closer, predicting that Romney would actually win by a slight margin.”
Borek, along with other MC Republicans, waited until well after the predicted winner was announced in Isaac’s Café, where the MC Republican student election party had been held. They waited to see if the actual counted votes would mirror the news network predictions, holding out hope that Romney might surge back for the victory.
“I just can’t believe it. I’m honestly at a loss for words,” freshman Republican Josh Revilla said.
MC Democrats held their own election party in Fayerweather Hall. Destiny White, junior and president of the College Democrats said she was more than pleased with the results.
“I am extremely happy that President Obama has another four years as president of the United States,” White said. “I believe his reelection will benefit me for the better. Being a woman and a student, there was a lot at stake for me, personally, during this election.” Aryn Leighton, a junior child development with teacher licensure major and Democrat at MC, was surprised by the early results announcement, as well.
“I was pretty excited and I was glad that, that happened, but it was pretty crazy,” Leighton said. “I didn’t expect to know until the morning.” Junior biochemistry major and Independent Josh Hunley agreed.“It’s very surprising that the results were announced as quickly as they were,” Hunley said. “I thought it might take days to decide. I’m kind of shocked at the way things turned out, because I thought it would be much closer.”
While Obama secured over 300 electoral votes, the popular vote was closely split, ending up with a difference around 2 million votes. This was not overlooked by the Republicans or Democrats.
“While I am disappointed with the results, the fact that so much of the vote went to Romney, shows people’s desire for change, and this makes the results not quite as disappointing for me,” Borek said. “It’s a positive step in the right direction that so many people did vote for Romney, and the main thing is that people came out to vote and let their opinions be heard with their votes.”
Associate professor of political science Dr. Mark O’Gorman explained that he felt as though the election was counted efficiently and came to a timely close. “I am pleased that the election was able to be completed in one night,” O’Gorman said. “Even as late as Monday, people were wondering if we were going to have a divided vote, a situation with Romney winning the popular vote and Obama carrying the electoral votes. As late as midnight, Romney had the popular vote lead, but Obama now has clearly won both. I’m glad that there is finality to it and that we have closure with this election.”
CNN polls and research revealed that the economy was the number one issue discussed in exit polls and on Twitter in regards to their election choice. Obama carried all seven states labeled as “Battleground States.” Two of these states were decided by mere thousands of votes, but Obama won the others with four percent or more of the vote. This difference marker catapulted the incumbent to winning over 300 electoral votes.
The economy played a large role in MC student’s opinions on the election, as well. “It’s time to think about getting out of the medical field for me,” Revilla said. “Being a bio-chem major may not be worth it anymore.”. Junior biochemistry major and Libertarian Danny Roselli said, “I’m not sure exactly how it will affect me going into the medical field, but I’m optimistic.”
Apart from the medical field, many students were paying especially close attention to this election, keeping graduation and the job market in mind. “I’m disappointed in the results,” said Chase Moore, Republican and junior double major in environmental studies and biology.
“I thought that Romney would be better for our economy in the long run. Obama will stimulate growth in the short-term, but I don’t think he will fix the underlying issues with the economy like Romney would have. I think this might make it more difficult to get a job when I graduate and it might make it more difficult on the uppermiddle class that I’m going to become a part of.”
While President Obama won the vote of those concerned with the economy, he also captured many of the minority votes, which seemed to be the major difference in battleground states like Colorado and Nevada. Young voters, women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT community overwhelmingly supported Obama.
According to exit polls reported by CNN, Latinos, who made up 10 percent of the 2012 voters, supported Obama with 71 percent of their vote. African-Americans, who made up 13 percent of all voters, supported Obama with 93 percent of their vote. Controlling these two groups, coupled with victories among women, voters under age 29 and the LGBT community served to be enough to overcome a 59 percent white vote supporting Mitt Romney.
While Romney strongly carried the white and protestant votes, he could not control enough of the independent and minority vote to win crucial swing states.
“I think [Obama’s re-election] was a triumph for women and the LGBT community,” Leighton said. “A lot of positive outcomes for those two groups. That’s how this election most affected me.” “As a political scientist, the Obama campaign will be studied for years to come,” O’Gorman said. “The campaigning he did— especially in the last few days—their ability to get every single person that they could out of the house to vote was incredible. Obama had three times as many offices in Ohio as Romney did, working to get out the vote and this surely had an impact on the results.”
As for the election’s effects on MC students, O’Gorman thinks that Obama policies will have a positive effect.
“I think that for MC students on a personal level, more than a few of the policies of Obama have been aimed at young people,” O’Gorman said. “Access to low-cost student loans is a pillar of Obama’s. Also, the focus on Obamacare that allows students to be on their parent’s healthcare plan for longer is better for students. [Obama’s plans] allow them to get easier loans to come to Maryville College.”
In a poll conducted by MC students in PLS 321, President Obama outpolled former Governor Romney 47 percent to 42 percent with 26 percent of the student body responding to the poll. These results were much closer than the election’s actual young people’s vote, which had young people voting 60 percent to 37 percent in favor of President Obama.
However, the results of the student poll correctly predicted an incumbent victory. By carrying the minority votes, having strong campaigning pushes in the final days, and gaining enough of the American trust in handling economic issues, President Obama will remain in office for four more years.
“I believe that President Obama accomplished a lot in his first four years, and I look forward to see what he is able to do in the upcoming [four years],” White said. I believe that his re-election will benefit many students at MC. In the past four years there has been more money for Pell Grants that have benefited many students and the job market has been on the rise, which will help all of us find jobs after we graduate.”