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Students react to election results with mixed feelings

Anna Boarini | Friday, November 9, 2012

Much like the rest of the country, the reactions of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students to the outcome of the 2012 presidential election spanned the political spectrum.

For Saint Mary’s senior Liz Craney, President Barack Obama’s reelection was a positive outcome.

“The issues that mean the most to me, my views line up the most with the president,” she said. “I don’t think he’s the perfect president, and I don’t think the country would have gone down the tubes if [Gov. Mitt] Romney were elected … but knowing that someone who shares my beliefs [is the president] is really exciting to me.”

Craney said she believes equality will become a priority during Obama’s second term.

“Same-sex marriage is the civil rights issue of our time,” she said. “I think … regardless of skin color, sexuality … eventually, everyone will be seen as equal sooner rather than later.”

Junior Alex Coccia said Obama’s reelection reflects the diverse future of the country. [Ed. note: Coccia is an Observer Viewpoint columnist.]
“To me, this was a testament to the confidence I have in how we are moving forward … becoming more accepting, [having] more diversity,” he said. “These are things that I hold very dear, things I strive for and promote and advocate for.”

Senior Jimmy Walsh said the president’s reelection, though unsurprising, was a disappointment.

“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I knew all the polls were indicating Obama wins. I knew Romney had a slim chance to none to win in the first place.”

For Walsh and the majority of the American electorate, the economy was the most important issue throughout this election.

“I felt like Obama had four years and wasn’t able to accomplish anything for the employment rate,” he said. “I’m hoping Obama and the Republicans can work together … and somehow reduce the deficit, but I don’t know if, given the past four years, they can reach an agreement.”

While Walsh said he is nervous about the nation’s economic future during Obama’s second term, Coccia said he views Obama’s next four years as an opportunity to continue the work of his first term.

“I think what [the result of the election] says to me regarding the economy is our focus has to be on people and not on profit,” he said.” My personal opinion is that President Obama’s policies reflect that more, and this will be a good opportunity for us to see how we can do better with both Republican and Democratic policies.”

Walsh said his home state of Missouri has begun to shift away from the political trends of the country as a whole.

“In 2008, Missouri voted for McCain, which was the first deviation away from the country, and this election, Missouri voted for Romney by a margin of 10 points,” he said. “The country and Missouri are going two different ways and I’m starting to wondering what’s going on.”

Saint Mary’s senior Jenny Gracyalny said she was intrigued by the large role of role social media in the election compared to elections past.
“I felt like I didn’t have to watch the election results, I just had to look at my Twitter or Facebook feed,” she said. “I think this has changed from years past.”

Gracyalny said she observed a high volume of political argument and disagreement via social media.

“I had people tell me they stopped being friends with people [on Facebook] because of what they said about the election,” she said.

Although social media provided a source of conflict, Gracyalny said she was encouraged by high voter turnout.

 “I was really pleased … to see how this election was important to a bunch of different people,” she said. “The fact that you can vote, that your voice can still be heard … Voting is a right we should and could take advantage of.”  

Contact Anna Boarini at [email protected]