Seahawks Swing: Students, faculty both convincingly support Obama
In this 2012 presidential election, Virginia’s 13 electoral votes could be the deciding factor in determining who will occupy the White House this January.
Virginia, having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and one of the most vigorous economies, is newly classified as a swing state. This title refers to Virginia as a state in which voters are likely to swing from one political party to another, important in determining the outcome of the election.
In 2008, incumbent President Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in 44 years.
What changed for this formerly conservative state?
According to National Public Radio, Obama said he won Virginia because of the substantially large amount of minorities and white college graduates within the state, as well as a sharp decline in the number of the white working class, who are “particularly unfriendly to Democrats.”
Radio, television, and mails are awash with campaign advertisements and partisan testimonials.
This avid campaigning is especially prominent in Northern Virginia, where one-third of the state’s voters reside. Fairfax County has always had been influential on the political scale, but some say it could make the difference between winning and losing.
“I think it’s an exciting time to be a registered voter in Virginia,” political science student Carson Gillions said. “I think it’s going to be a close call because everyone I talk to has a different side. I’m not sure who to support because I really don’t agree with either of them.”
However, in a poll of 266 teachers on whom they were leaning toward giving their vote, 73 percent chose Obama.
“I am going to be voting for Barack Obama because I feel like Romney has absolutely no idea what he is doing,” math teacher Adam Smith said. “He is too wishy-washy and he is very vague on his plans for office. It seems like he just wants to kick out the guy who is not white. For a lot of republicans lately, it has become a matter of race rather than ability.”
Students like junior Laura Ferraro disagree.
“Many Obama supporters are in favor of social equality,” Ferraro said. “If there was social equality it would be nice, but the economy is what matters the most right now. The economy is currently more important than social issues. Obama hasn’t done anything about it. Romney will be able to better handle the problem.”
Complementing the teacher poll, 266 seniors were polled. Of the 46 that are eligible to actually vote, 32 said they were going to vote for Obama.
Although the results are clearly in favor of Obama, there are still some who are unsure of where they stand.
“I am undecided because I need to do some more research and get a further understanding of how the candidates stand on certain issues like education, getting the economy back on track, and some foreign policy issues,” history teacher Howard Krasilovsky said. “I was impressed with Mitt Romney [during the debate]. I felt like he was well-spoken and really went at Obama. I feel like Obama has some improvements that need to be made as far as his speaking abilities for the next debate.”
Performing an online search shows how important Virginia is this year.
“Presidential polls Virginia” is the third option when “presidential polls” is Google searched. People are very interested to see which way the state will lean in the election. With a moderately conservative history, it is surprising that Virginia still favors the Democrat.
It is possible this is because of lack of support for previous Republicans who served in office.
“If I could vote I would vote for Barack Obama,” sophomore Brent Sullivan said. “When Obama started in office, he had to deal with the mess left by the Bush administration, and he tried to get the economy back on track in addition to maintaining two wars overseas. I think that it was a smart move on his part to pull out of Iraq, but he then reinforced the war in Afghanistan. I don’t think that Obama is the perfect candidate, but I think he is the best choice of the two remaining candidates.”