Presidential Election 2012: DC’s Superbowl

2012 Election Night drew a crowd outside the White House

By Mary Morgan

2012 Election Night drew a crowd outside the White House

After months of constant polling, aggressive advertisements and unbridled enthusiasm, the 2012 presidential election is over.

In a race that proved to be even closer than that of 2008, the country was seemingly on the edge of its seat for weeks. Polls showed the candidates at only a few points difference each time, and much reflected a seesaw in its favoring. Every state mattered; every vote counted.

President Barack Obama won 50.4 percent of the popular vote, compared to Gov. Mitt Romney’s 48.1 percent. In 2008, that gap had been a bit wider, with Obama collecting a 7.3 percent lead.

In the greater D.C. area, citizens experienced either a landslide win in the district, or a battleground in Virginia. Obama took D.C. by a staggering 91.4 percent. Virginia held a much closer race.

Of this election’s ten determined battleground states – Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, New Mexico and North Carolina – only North Carolina went red. Every swing state resulted in a difference of less than 10 percent between the candidates. The closest race was Florida, where the gap was a mere 0.6 percent.

Virginia produced the fourth closest result of the battlegrounds, with Obama reigning in 50.8 percent and Romney taking 47.8. With the blue states of Maryland and Washington, D.C. neighboring it above, and the red states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee Carolina hugging it from the left, it’s no surprise that Virginia was a closely watched state. It had been predicted beforehand that in order for Obama to take Virginia, the turnout in the northern parts of the state had to be huge. It would otherwise be outnumbered by the rest of its more conservative citizens. Lines stretched up to three hours long in Arlington and Fairfax counties as the commonwealth’s citizens participated in the vote.

Election watch parties sprouted up across D.C. Some were politically affiliated. Some took place at bars. Some inspired conversation and community, while others gathered the silent watchers. The king of the District’s watch parties, however, was not an organized event.

As the votes flooded in, the outside of the White House became flooded with the citizens of D.C. Even though the President was not at home, Washingtonians cheered for him as his victory was announced. Strangers rejoiced in unison as their president won his second-term. Excitement was high, the community feeling was high, and some people positioned themselves high-up in trees. Chants of “four more years” went well into the night.

While the political ads may have disappeared, the sentiments of the election will not vanish as quickly. In the city where the election is bigger than the Superbowl, the high emotions of the election will not go away overnight. We can surely expect more analysis of the election, more predictions for the future and – of course – more celebrations.

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