Final Conversations on the 2012 Presidential Campaign

From left to right: Virginia Sapiro, Graham Wilson, Randall Ellis, and Tammy Vigil. | Photo by Asta Thrastardottir

The election is over, the dust has cleared, those incessant political ads have finally ceased, and it has been made clear that Mitt is, in fact, not the Tits. The question that has now been brought to the forefront of many people’s mind is: what now?

On Thursday, November 8, the BU Alumni Association hosted the final installment in BU’s Road to Washington, an election year discussion series, to try and address that question.

The panel consisted of Graham Wilson, a professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science, Randall Ellis, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Economics specializing in health economics, Tammy Vigil, an assistant professor in the College of Communication, and Virgina Sapiro, Dean of CAS and expert in elections and public opinion.

The panel reviewed the outcome of the 2012 election, examined the campaigns, and spoke of the major issues address. The panelists each focused on their specific area of expertise.

“Obviously this was a good result for Barack Obama–he won. But not only did he win, but he lost only two states in the process, Indiana and North Carolina,” said Wilson.

“I think to only lose two states is a really striking result. The atmosphere after, what most of us would resolve as a somewhat flawed campaign- the biggest error or biggest setback, of course, his poor performance in the first presidential debate. But, in spite of all of that and in spite of the poor economy–he did well,” he said.

Although the exit polls show that the economy was the issue most prevalent on voters minds it did not, in the end, lead to Obama’s defeat.

“Why did the economy not prove more decisive? Perhaps because the economy was improving somewhat but also because the opinion polls tell us that people, in general, still blame Bush for the state of the economy rather than blaming Obama,” said Wilson.

The Affordable Care Act was also an issue on voters’ minds. Ellis seemed optimistic about the future of health reform when he proclaimed, “It’s still a great time to be a health economist.”

“This election will be viewed as validating and moving forward on the affordable health care act–the main focus will be on trying to accommodate its many features.”

Another central issue will be implementing policies, as the nation seems to be still divided on major issues. “When you look at the exit polls that are coming out now and the results, we live in a really divided society,” said Saprio.

“If you look at the red and blue map, you can see the confederacy and the north,” she said. This dividing line is key in looking at the crucial policies that must be passed, according to Saprio.

Although there is a divide, Virgil seemed confidant about the future. “If you watched the victory speech, my reaction was, finally. Finally we hear the Obama of 2008,” she said.

“I think that particular speech really sets a tone that allows for some hope to be driven back into the population,” she added.

A question-and-answer session followed the panel in which questions such as why the environment was not discussed more in the campaign, the likeability of each candidate, and the effect tax rates on GDP were raised.

To view the panel in its entirety, go to:


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