‘I’ve never seen so much division between voters’
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The US presidential election promises to be a tight contest in an increasingly polarised country. In Virginia, one of the key battleground states of the contest, our special correspondents asked voters for whom they cast their ballot and why.
special correspondent in key swing state of Virginia
Waynesboro, Virginia is a small, industrial city nestled the state's Shenandoah Valley. In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain won the surrounding county with 62 percent of votes to Barack Obama’s 37 percent.
Nevertheless, in 2008 Obama won a majority of overall ballots in Virginia – a state that had sided with the Republican candidate since 1968 – and the state’s 13 electoral college votes helped him soundly defeat McCain that year.
The town’s roughly 20,000 residents tend to vote conservative, but here, as across the United States, people are deeply divided over whether the Democratic incumbent or Republican challenger Mitt Romney would make a better president.
Our special correspondents asked voters leaving a polling station at a local library for whom they had cast their ballot and why.
Jacquie: I don’t like either of them, but I voted for what’s-his-face. Romney. He’s the
lesser of two evils. I wish Hillary Clinton had been running, I would’ve voted for her. The only good thing Obama has done is given black people more confidence. That’s a good thing, and I’m glad. We all get along well in this town.
Harvey: I voted for Obama. I’ve definitely seen an improvement from where we were at when he took office. I’m a native Virginian and I’ve seen this state move to the left. But we’re still definitely a “purple state”. This year, we might be like Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004.
Ashley: I voted for Obama, just like in 2008. I’m a healthcare provider, so it’s pretty clear who I support. I care about the future of healthcare. Obama better win, otherwise I’m moving – just joking.
Randa: I voted for Romney. I voted for Obama in 2008, but I’m ready for a change again. I see things differently. But I don’t really like Romney either; it’s more a vote against Obama.
Carrie: I voted for Obama again. Mainly for his stance on women’s issues. I have a daughter, I want her to have choices. I also approve of what he’s done with the economy. He needs four more years. Among my family and friends, the votes are pretty mixed – half and half.
James: I’m an independent, but I voted for McCain in 2008 and now Romney. Obama hasn’t done anything over the past four years to help the middle class. Obamacare sucks, and you can quote me on that. I think Romney will look out for the middle class more.
Velma: I’ve never seen so much division between voters in my life. A lot of people now are talking about succeeding and making money as if it’s a bad thing. We should all be aiming to succeed – everybody. The turnout here is higher this year than any year I can remember. I’ve never seen so many Waynesboro voters come to this voting precinct.
India: I voted for Obama, because he’s helping get us out of this mess. He just needs a little bit more time. If people would quit fighting him on everything he tries to do, maybe he could get things done faster.
Jerry: It’s my first time voting, at 54 years old. I’m part Cherokee. My friend made me vote, and I picked Romney because I feel like it’s time for a change. Maybe he’ll be worse than Obama, but I’m willing to take that risk.