After months of campaigning and anticipation, President Barack Obama was declared the winner of the 2012 election.
With 303 electoral college votes for Obama and 206 for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, it was clear before midnight that Obama had won his second term in office.
The election ran close across the country, especially in battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Obama won the majority of heavily vetted states, including Ohio and Iowa, while Romney took North Carolina with 51 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times. At the time of print, Floridas results had yet to be declared.
Lowell Harris, professor of humanities, paced back and forth in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Amphitheater as he watched results roll in and fought back tears. Harris had been worried because of how close the election was going to be.
It renewed my faith in America, he said. It shows that (Americans) have this innate intelligence and love of democracy.
Ive been anxious the past few weeks, Harris said. (But) if we can put in Nixon and George W. Bush for a second term, we can definitely re-elect Obama.
Romney conceded the election at approximately 12:55 a.m., addressing his supporters and congratulating the president, the first lady and their daughters.
I pray that the president will be successful guiding our nation, he said.
Kiki Caruson, professor in the Department of Government and International Affairs, said she predicted that Obama might win by electoral, but not popular (or actual individual) votes.
I think we expected that Romney would do well on older, white, suburban voters and has so. Obama has done better than expected with Hispanic voters, African-American voters and young voters, Caruson said.
But Obamas ultimate success will be determined by the outcomes of the smaller elections, she said.
I think a lot hinges in the House and Senate, Caruson said. If Obama serves with the majority in Congress it will be a lot easier for him to pursue policies and programs that hes talked about in the campaign. If we ended up with a situation of divided government hed have a tougher time holding up his agenda.
Other Florida elections were decided earlier in the night with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D) retaining his position with a 55 percent win over Connie Mack (R). Of the 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot, only Amendments 2, 9 and 11 passing.
I think many people just opted on no on the amendments, Caruson said. There were so many theres a bit of fatigue on amendments among voters, weve had so many changes to the constitution that have been put through in referendum.
Harris said he hopes to see more of Obamas policies in regards to regulating the financial industry and dealing with the economy, but said he is confident that things will work out better than if Romney had been elected.
Romney has said bye-bye Big Bird and PBS, bye-bye womens rights, Harris said. If Romney had won, American corporations (would have) again owned this country.
Evan Eastman, self-proclaimed libertarian conservation and a senior majoring in finance and economics, was disappointed in the result.
It is not in my favor, but it is what it is, Eastman said. Whatever bad things happen, the American people asked for it It was really close, I did expect it to be that close because it was a hard fought campaign.
Some, including Dick Greco, former Hillsborough County mayor, were just excited that the campaign season had come to an end.
It doesnt matter who comes out tonight, what matters is weve got to come together as a nation, Greco said.
– Additional reporting by Elizabeth Engasser, Roberto Roldan, Brittany Mulligan and Alex Rosenthal