President Barack Obama has been reelected for the 2012-16 term, beating opponent Governor Mitt Romney by 97 electoral votes.
Obama, the Democratic candidate, received 303 electoral votes as opposed to Romney’s 206 as the Republican candidate. At press time, Florida’s electoral votes were not accounted for, though the state was expected to go in favor of Obama.
Though the popular vote favored Romney for most of the night, it ultimately showed a very slight preference toward Obama, who gained 50 percent of the nation’s votes while Romney received 49 percent.
CNN and NBC declared a projected result of Obama’s win at 8:20 p.m. after projected results showed Obama ahead with 274 electoral votes.
Swing states, a toss-up until election results came in, eventually favored Obama. He gained 18 electoral votes from the formerly undecided Ohio to achieve his final lead. The state of California contributed to Obama’s success, giving him 55 electoral votes based on the 56.8 percent of California voters who supported Obama as of press time.
Obama was supported in this election by young voters, receiving 60 percent of the popular vote in the 18-29 age group.
Critical issues for college students in the election were educational policies and job creation. Obama’s official stance on education sets a goal of cutting tuition and increasing public financial aid. His plan for job creation is to invest government money into small businesses and clean energy, and to offer tax cuts to companies that provide domestic jobs.
The reaction from San Luis Obispo County is mixed.
“Of course, we’re upset with the overall results,” San Luis Obispo County Republican Party chairman John Peschong said. “I think it had to do with the incumbency; he is the president of the United States.”
County democrats, however, celebrated the results as soon as the predictions came in.
“We are absolutely ecstatic, we’re down here at The Grad with all of the county democrats. It’s absolutely amazing, especially to have it called at 8:15,” Cal Poly Democrats President Kayla Clark said. “We kind of knew as soon as Mitt Romney lost Pennsylvania that he was going to lose it because that was a serious swing state.”
The San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party, which held a viewing party tonight at The Graduate along with Cal Poly Democrats, echoed this excitement over the election’s results.
“We’ve had hundreds of people here all day making thousands of phone calls to the North County, and then to hear that the president has won despite a grueling campaign has made everybody ecstatic,” Paso Robles volunteer and former Chair of the Democratic Committee Larry Houlgate said.
“The Graduate is all-ages so we have little kids, we have college students, we have families and a bunch of the local candidates are here too,” Clark said of the viewing party.
The road to the election was not smooth for either candidate — it was a close race until the polls closed. The swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia were courted by both Obama and Romney as the race neared Election Day. As it turns out, Ohio and Colorado went to Obama with a combined 27 electoral votes.
Obama’s platform relied on his original principles for fiscal policy and human rights issues. Other main issues in this election were deficit reduction and tax plans. Obama has said he plans to reduce the deficit using job creation tactics and tax cuts in order to address these issues.
Obama supports traditionally liberal social policies as an advocate for equal marriage rights, pro-choice policies and lenient immigration policies.
“Different issues matter to different people,” Clark said. “Social issues I think were a big deal. I think the hugest issue was the economy and I guess a lot of people liked what they’ve seen with Obama in the last four years.”
Romney chose to address the nation’s main issues with a “five-point plan” intended to cut the deficit and create jobs. The points included using domestic energy resources, improving education nationally and strengthening the nation’s trade climate.
“I think that he had ability to look very presidential during the hurricane and the tragedies in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania,” Peschong said. “I think everyone was focused on the president, and his ability to relieve some of the misery of the storm victims shifted a lot of the momentum of the campaign.”
The reelection of Obama also means vice president Joe Biden will return to office for another term, beating Republican vice presidential candidate and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan. Biden, who has a background in foreign relations and advises Obama on foreign and domestic policy initiatives.