Record results leave voters looking ‘forward’
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 23:11
After weeks of political ads, campaign news and volunteering for the candidates, Miami University students now look to what’s next.
“Obviously we’re very ecstatic over the election results,” Laura Kretz, president of College Democrats, said. “We’re very happy with not only re-electing President Obama, but also re-electing Sherrod Brown.”
President Barack Obama received more than 58 percent of the vote in Oxford on Election Day, according to the Butler County Board of Elections. By comparison, 36 percent of Butler County voted for Obama Tuesday.
College Republicans Chairman Baylor Myers said the College Republicans were down but not defeated following Mitt Romney’s loss on Tuesday.
“The president did not deserve a second term but he has received one, and for that the country will likely be sorry,” Myers said.
But Myers also said the College Republicans contributed to the Romney campaign as much they could.
“I’m incredibly proud of the College Republicans,” Myers said. “In this election cycle we knocked on over 16,000 doors and made over 25,000 phone calls.”
More than 68 percent of Butler County’s registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, similar to early estimates of statewide voter turnout.
Voter turnout increased more than 4 percent this year in Butler County compared to the 2008 election, although fewer citizens registered and voted this year.
Voter turnout is calculated by dividing the number of people who voted by the number of people registered to vote.
Of Butler County’s 20 cities or townships, Oxford had the lowest voter turnout in 2008 and in 2012. Miami University Political Science Professor Ryan Barilleaux said turnout matters the most in close elections.
“Certain kinds of elections bring out lots of voters; this one brought out a lot more than it might have otherwise, but it didn’t bring out as many as some people thought it was going to,” Barilleaux said. “It didn’t change the fundamental nature of the electorate [though].”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a record $6 billion was spent on the 2012 federal elections. Miami senior Cory Brown said this record spending was “deplorable” and was one of the factors that impacted the number of people who registered and voted.
“I think just overall the quality of the candidate on the Republican side and then disillusionment on the Democratic side were probably the two biggest factors in the decline in voter turnout,” Brown said. “The mere quantity of [campaign] ads is overwhelming to some extent. And it’s not so much the ads themselves; it’s the negativity in ads.”
Brown said changing national demographics also helped secure a second term for Obama.
“I don’t think it was a surprise that Obama won,” Brown said. “I will say the Republican ground game was better — it was not enough.”
Approximately 28 percent of Miami students are out-of-state, domestic students, some of whom registered to vote in Ohio for this election.
Chris Mackey, a senior from Chicago, Ill. said he registered to vote in Oxford because he lives here more frequently and felt his vote mattered more compared to Illinois.
“In my opinion, your vote did count more in Ohio or Virginia or Florida or Pennsylvania or a swing state like that, versus being from Illinois where your vote is not going to matter as much,” Mackey said.
Junior Annie Kuruc said she knew a lot of students who registered in Oxford.
“I actually have a lot of friends who switched their address over to Oxford because the vote counts more,” Kuruc said. “It definitely feels like there are more conservative people [in Oxford].”
According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, at least 49 percent of voters under 30 turned out with 97 percent of precincts fully reporting, compared to 52 percent turnout in 2008.
Senior Meghan Wadsworth, who volunteered for the Republican National Committee Ohio Victory Program, said she thought a lot of out-of-state students did register to vote in Oxford but did not think it was a determining factor in Oxford.
“I would say Oxford is definitely the Democratic area of Butler County,” Wadsworth said. “It is more liberal than the rest of the county; it really was a different attitude when we were volunteering and the people we’d meet.”
Senior Liesel Schmader said she did not expect the Oxford results since Butler County tends to be conservative.
“The statistics surprise me a bit,” Schmader said. “The population of students is the majority in Oxford. When I came to Miami I actually felt like it was fairly liberal; this year I felt like it was fairly conservative.”
The Republican presidential candidates received the most votes from West Chester Township in 2008 and in 2012, while Morgan Township had the highest turnout and the largest percentage voting for the Republican ticket in 2012.
Regardless of post-election euphoria or disappointment, both Kretz and Baylor said they are looking to the future.
“We will look to speaker John Boehner to curtail the assault on prosperity and to protect our values,” Myers said.
On the other hand, Kretz said the Democrats are excited to keep moving forward.
“From here we are very excited to keep going, continue to talk about the issues that we talked about,” Myers said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if there truly is a call for bipartisanship.”