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November 08. 2012 11:52PM

United States evenly divided politically

DURHAM - University of New Hampshire political scientists Dante Scala and Andy Smith spent an hour dissecting Tuesday's election during an on-campus discussion held Thursday night.

The bottom line was that not much has changed.

Smith said what was learned after the election, is that the country is still pretty evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats with no real change in the make up of Washington, D.C.

Audience members questioned whether the lack of result for all of that money would change campaign finance in the future.

Neither Smith or Scala seemed to think so.

Smith said Obama won New Hampshire simply because there are more Democrats in the state.

He said he is not sure it would have mattered which candidate the Republican party put forward, because citizens voted along party lines.

The same held true down the ticket, especially in state representative races, where voters often have no idea who the candidates are or what they stand for.

"They vote for the 'R' or the 'D' after the name," Smith said.

The race Scala found most intriguing was that for Governor.

He said it was like the movie "Groundhog Day" for Republican candidate Ovide Lamontagne who ran a race for Governor under very similar circumstances in 1996.

Smith said in polling, they saw considerable crossover with voters casting their ballot for Romney and then for Democrat Maggie Hassan.

He thought Lamontagne missed an opportunity to define his opponent the way he was defined after the state primary. Voters were lambasted with negative ads about Lamontagne's stance on social issues he was not interested in addressing during the campaign.

"He let himself be characterized by his opponent," Smith said.

Scala said the election does bring change for the future. The re-election of President Barack Obama means the Affordable Healthcare Act is here to stay, putting him in a category with Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt for passage of such a large piece of domestic legislation.

Voters in the audience said they are just relieved to have a break from the political campaigning - at least for a short time.


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