Residents at the Polls Sound Off on Presidential Election
NEWINGTON/WETHERSFIELD - Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had run a close race throughout Tuesday’s election night, with the Massachusetts governor carrying a slight edge, but with results in critical states such as Ohio and Florida still to come in, political pundits on ABC projected that the challenger would have trouble unseating his incumbent opponent.
Around 11 p.m. it was official--President Barack Obama had won the 270 electoral votes needed to hold the White House. Facebook statuses-some celebrating the beginning of “four more years”, and others dreading another Obama term-had begun springing up before ABC News even officially announced the end of the election.
Just hours before, the buildup, as voters in Wethersfield and Newington flocked to their local polling stations as anticipation, fueled by conflicting emotions of fear and hope, continued to mount.
At Wethersfield Town Hall, unregistered voter Daniel Santiago walked out of the Town Council Chambers after casting a vote for Obama.
“I feel like we’ve gotten better slowly over the past four years,” he said. “The nation was in pretty bad shape.”
Santiago added, “Romney just wants to help out the rich people. He doesn’t sound good at all.”
The importance of a candidate’s ability to understand the plight of lower and middle class Americans, which was also stressed by analysts in ABC’s election night coverage, seemed to be a high priority with Wethersfield voters.
“I think he’s more for the working class people,” said Wethersfield resident Terry Duffy of Obama.
At John Wallace Middle School in Newington, Doris Myslak went with a different candidate for the same reason, the strain felt by the working class in keeping up with costs in a difficult economy.
“I wanna get that oofus out of the White House,” Myslak said. “Everything’s gone up except pay: groceries, rent, no jobs.”
The October unemployment rate was 7.9, a jump from 7.8 last month, the same level it was at in January 2009 when Obama began a presidency that saw the rate climb to as high as 10.0 in October of 2009, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s one way of measuring job performance, but what about the actual number of jobs added? According to an Associated Press article that ran on Yahoo Finance on Nov. 2, the economy saw the addition of 4.9 million jobs since March 2010, when the unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, stood at 9.8.
Francis Norbert, another Newington resident, also cast his vote for Romney.
“I do not agree with this socialist administration we have right now, who wants to take everything I have worked for and distribute it to the 47 percent,” Norbert said, echoing the incendiary comments Romney has made regarding the population of Americans whose income is too low for them to pay Federal income taxes.
The “47 percent” Romney, and Romney supporters like Norbert, are referring to, is actually made up mostly of working people. An article in The New Republic, titled “Anatomy of the 47 percent,” cites a Center of Budget and Policy Priorities Chart that breaks down the different demographics that make up this “47 percent”.
Sixty-one percent of the 47 percent--it’s actually 46 percent, according to the article--are members of the work force who, although unable to pay income taxes, contribute payroll taxes. Twenty-two percent are elderly, and students and disabled individuals make up smaller percentages of the chart.
In Newington, Obama bested Romney 8,092 votes to 5,752, according to results posted on the town’s website on election night.
“He got us out of the [Iraq] war, he saved the big car companies,” said one Newington resident, who asked to be identified only as Betty, in support of Obama. “He’s not a miracle man. He can’t do everything.”
For some voters, it was about picking what they see, as the saying goes, the lesser of two evils. A Wethersfield resident, who asked to be identified only as Caitlyn, went with Obama “because he’s not Mitt Romney.”
“The other party tends to be a little too radical,” she said.