Political Science Department hosts election viewing party

By Seamus Doyle and Melanie Lawder
seamus.doyle@marquette.edu and melanie.lawder@marquette.edu

Approximately fifty students and a small group of professors gathered in Haggerty Hall last night to view the results of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. Marquette students supporting both ends of the political spectrum joined together in anticipation and suspense of the 2012 election results.

Despite the tensions, spirits seemed to be high amongst the students in attendance with animated chatter filling in the long breaks between incoming results.

Spread throughout three rooms and the Triangle Lounge in Haggerty Hall, the old engineering building, a diverse number of media outlets, including CNN, FOX, C-SPAN, and MSNBC, provided up to date election results to individuals in attendance.

Though party affiliation varied, students shared common concerns about how the election will affect same issues. Like the general public, the economy and foreign policy were two issues that many students held a significant amount of anxiety about.

“Obviously the economy is a really important issue, but I think after the third presidential debate it became really obvious that you couldn’t take foreign policy for granted,” said Kelly Mitchell, a graduate student studying political science and a supporter of President Barack Obama.

For some students, the candidates’ stances on social issues were just as pertinent as the economy.

“It’s sad that we let religious groups influence how we’re going to vote on certain issues such as abortion and gay marriage,” said Joshua Hill, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences.

By the end of the night, the crowd had drastically dispersed and only 15 to 20 students and a few professors were around as the majority of swing states came in.

Of these few students, there seemed to be a decidedly liberal bent as cheers and whistles filled the room as Iowa was announced in the Obama column. Later, as Ohio was called for Obama, almost everyone in the room jumped to their feet, including some professors, and the screaming was earsplitting.

Few students stayed after Ohio was called in favor of Obama.

“I’m so excited that all our hard work paid off,” Natasha Hansen, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences said. “The future of women’s health, gay rights, our economy, our foreign relations, and our student loans are in good hands.”

One of the largest questions of the night, one repeated by students and professors alike, was how the media could call states with so few votes counted.

“I think they shouldn’t have called Wisconsin so early,” Evan Umpir, a sophomore in the college of Arts & Sciences, said. “It’s going be close. It’s going to be real close. The media needs to tread lightly.”

Umpir was not the only individual confused as to why states were being called with sometimes less than 10 percent of the vote having been counted.

“I don’t know what they’re calling that on,” Julia Azari, an assistant professor of political science, said at one point as states were being called by the media.

It seems that individuals at the election viewing party, sponsored by the Les Aspin Center for Government and the Department of Political Science, called the election in favor of Obama early, with everyone, including professors, dispersing immediately after Ohio was called in favor of Obama around 10:20pm.

Yet, the Marquette viewing party was not the only thing that leaned Democratic.

According to the Journal Sentinel, of the Marquette community that voted on campus, wards 190, 191, and 192, leaned Democratic in both the presidential and senate races.

“President Barack Obama outpolled former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 2,009 to 1,500, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin outpolled Republican Tommy Thompson 2,073 to 1,500,” Jenifer Zahn said in an article published on JS Online.

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