Obama makes history

On Jan. 20, 2009, Democrat Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American to hold the office.

The presidential candidate, who has made "change" the cornerstone of his campaign, defeated Republican Sen. John McCain by an estimated 63 million to 55.8 million votes. As of Wednesday evening, this translated into 349 electoral votes to 162, with 27 still undecided.

Obama was projected to win Pennsylvania soon after the polls closed Tuesday night, but it was his victory in Ohio that deflated McCain's chances of success. ABC News reported that Ohio's Republican turnout was the lowest the state has ever seen. No Republican candidate has ever made it to the White House without winning in Ohio. Obama also took Virginia and Indiana, states that have not voted Democratic since 1964.

According to CNN, the economy was the number one issue that allowed Obama to cut across demographics and swing several states from red to blue. He was also successful among women, African-Americans, Latinos, first time under 30 and voters who make less than $100,000 a year.

Many Geneseo students awaited the election results in the Union Ballroom at the "Swing State Sweepstakes," and predicted who they thought would be victorious.

"I support McCain, but I'll be surprised if he wins," said sophomore Megan Kelly Tuesday night as Obama's electoral lead grew.

Freshman Kathryn Steffan was surprised at Obama's early success.

"I definitely thought it was going to be closer," she said. "But I guess in the last few days Obama has clearly been in the lead."

Junior Amy Breimaier cited how important an Obama win was, not just in the U.S., but around the world.

"Overseas, it will be pretty devastating if he doesn't win," she said on Tuesday night. She described a trip to London where she saw Obama signs in several windows. "They're hoping for change as well."

Obama will take office with a Democratic Senate and House of Representatives, although the Democratic Senate is expected to fall narrowly short of the 60 seats needed for a filibuster proof. The House will have its greatest Democratic majority in 15 years.

"I didn't support Obama, but I'm hoping that something will be done with a Democratic president and Democratic house," said sophomore Jessica Hullar. "I'm ready for a change."

Change has been a recurring theme throughout the election and now that Obama has been elected the nation waits to see what he will actually do in office.

"He's never going to be able to do everything he promised," said senior Anne Semel about Obama's campaign. "But no politician can."

In his acceptance speech, Obama told a room of emotional supporters, "We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there."

According to CNN, the Nov. 4 election marked the end of a 21-month presidential campaign season, the longest in U.S. history. Obama will spend the next two months transitioning to the White House before his inauguration in January.