Obama still stands tall

Voters finally got their chance Tuesday to decide a presidential race that has spanned almost two years and cost over $2.5 billion. Hotly contested ballot propositions, most notably propositions 30 and 32, will be decided almost certainly by margins so slim it may take days before a final result is announced.As predicted, the presidential race came down to a handful of crucial swing states, namely Ohio and Florida. Heading into Election Day, the race was virtually a dead heat. A Politico/George Washington University poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted from Nov. 4 to Nov. 5 had Obama and Romney tied with 47 percent each, and 6 percent remaining undecided. However in those vital battleground states, Obama held the slight edge. Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling gave Obama a six-point lead in Colorado, with three percent still undecided a day before the election. Nevada also was leaning toward Obama, where, according to the same poll, he clung to a four-point lead with just one percent undecided. Those leads managed to hold throughout the night, as Obama carried both states. Thunderous applause met projected results at Trip, a local bar hosting a “drinking liberally” event. As Florida moved into the democratic column, and leads in Virginia and Ohio proved solid, many at the bar simply lamented the lack of an even more liberal candidate that could contend. Gov. Romney had to win at least Ohio or Florida to clear a path to an Electoral victory. Obama carried Ohio with 49.3 percent of the vote with 89 percent of precincts reporting, and Florida with 50 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Much attention was focused on the Electoral College votes in Ohio and Florida. The last Republican to win the White House without carrying Florida was Warren G. Harding. No Republican has won the White House without Ohio. Control of the Senate was also at stake. The state of play immediately before the election had once hopeful Republicans facing defeat in their bid to control both chambers of Congress. Comments by Richard Mourdock in Indiana, in which he said he opposed abortion in cases of rape because “it is something that God intended to happen,” caused him to plummet in the polls. The last poll conducted in the state saw Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly with 47 percent of the vote to Mourdock’s 36 percent. Those numbers proved reliable as Donnelly won a close race with 50 percent of the vote to Mourdock’s 46 percent. An expensive and extremely close campaign saw Elizabeth Warren ultimately unseat Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, allowing Democrats to retain control of the Senate. A bartender at the watch party who declined to give his name remarked on the American electoral system. “Back home, there are more options,” he said. “I just wish there was someone else besides these two to vote for.” Others, such as Matt Borowitz harkened back to the days of the Clinton-Bush-Perot race of 1992, and lamented the lack of a viable third-party candidate to challenge both the Republican and Democratic institutions. “Perot went after those guys,” said Borowitz, referring to his debates with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. “I wanted to vote for Jill Stein or somebody like that, but this race was just too close,” he said. Obama clung to narrow leads in the crucial states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, with CNN projecting that the President would carry all three states. With votes still to be finalized in Florida, Obama held a 303 to 206 Electoral vote advantage, sealing his re-election bid. Willy Meyerson continually checked the projections he had made on a napkin as results were declared on the flat screens above the bar. Although early returns handed Romney a distinct advantage in Virginia, Meyerson stuck by his prediction, saying that Obama would carry the state with less than one percent of the vote. Obama won the state with approximately 50 percent of the vote compared to Romney’s 48 percent. Republicans’ aspirations for an even firmer grip on the House of Representatives were more tangible, however, as they stand to increase their share of seats overall. Ballot measures in California will decide a great deal about the state’s future. Proposition 30 will decide a great deal about the funds available to the state’s public education system. Competing tax initiative Prop. 38, sponsored by Molly Munger, has threatened to siphon votes from Prop. 30, which Gov. Brown hopes will become his signature accomplishment in his return to the governorship. Proposition 32 has also proved controversial. Organized labor has spent heavily to defeat the measure, which would limit use of payroll deductions for political purposes. Other propositions including Proposition 37 and Proposition 40 have steep uphill climbs and will likely fail. Prop. 37 would require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such, and Prop. 40 would affirm the Citizens Redistricting Commission results. Both Republicans and Democrats are urging supporters to vote in support of Prop. 40. While votes are not final, Prop. 38 seems to be on its way to a sound defeat, while the Prop. 30 race remains close as of early Wednesday morning.