WU students vote with nation, elect Obama

Near 90% vote for Democrat; Proposition M fails despite campus support

Proving the improbable, the University student body aligned with the American public to make history by electing Barack Obama as the 44th and first African-American president of the United States on Tuesday.

Putting an end to the longest presidential campaign run in history—it started almost two years ago, Obama won a landslide victory, securing wins in key swing states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Missouri’s tally was still undecided as of press time, but was leaning toward the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Obama’s ability to energize young voters was solidified at the polls as 70 percent of voters who, according to the New York Times/CBS poll, said they were voting for the first time, cast their ballots for Obama.

In a considerable increase from 2004, the youth vote, according to CNN, made up 21 percent of the total voters this election cycle.

Reflecting the University’s largely liberal standing student body, data from an exit poll conducted by Student Life showed that 87.22 percent of the student body voted for Obama. Business students were slightly more likely to vote for McCain than the general student body population

“Wash. U. turnout was unbelievable. Close to 100 percent,” Sophie Cohen, president of Students for Barack Obama, said. “I’m very proud of Wash. U. Youth finally showed they do matter a lot. We do have a voice.”

Of the student voters who decided who they would vote for within the last three weeks, 80 percent voted for Obama.

Lining up with the national polls, which suggested that most Americans

placed the economy as their top concern this election, almost a third of University students said that the economy was the largest factor when deciding for whom to vote. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ranked second at almost 15 percent.

Yesterday was a day for the Democrats to remember, as the party also swept the legislative elections, picking up seats in both houses of congress. For the first time since 1995, the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House.

Democrat Jay Nixon won the Missouri gubernatorial race by a wide margin as well.

The Washington University student body however, did clash with the greater St. Louis public on proposition M. The Student Life exit poll showed that an overwhelming 88.64 percent of students voted to approve proposition M, which would increase MetroLink funding, although the bill ultimately failed in the County.

Although the Democrats outnumber the Republicans on campus, the Republicans have also made their voices heard in their efforts to campaign for Senator John McCain.

Republican Monika Monson, a sophomore, said that although she is disappointed that McCain lost, she will stand behind Obama in his presidency.

“I’m going to be gracious in defeat,” Monson said. “I hope [Obama] follows through on all his promises and I wish him luck.”

Student Union Brittany Perez noted the political activism and discourse that reverberated through campus yesterday and called it characteristic of excitement that has flowed from the vice presidential debate here last month.

“On campus a lot of people were really energized. Even though [voting] was early, you could tell people really thought this was there responsibility. There wasn’t even a choice whet they were going to do [vote] or not,” Perez said.

Perez added that that sense of obligation caused students to do more than just vote, saying that they contributed both money and volunteering time to the campaigns.

“People have taken ownership of this election. You can tell from the people that stuck around here and the people that have been getting people out to vote in the last couple of days that they are really invested,” Perez said.

With additional reporting Johann Qua Hiansan.

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