News Column

Massachusetts Wary of Native Son Romney

Nov. 6, 2012

Heiko Oldoerp and Todd Feathers


The Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney may have been the state governor, but neither side in the race has much doubt that Massachusetts is firmly in the Obama camp.

Polls have long given the Democratic president a solid lead over Romney, who ran the state from 2003 to 2007 and still lives here.

The last time New England's "Granite State", home to the Democrats' Kennedy dynasty, voted for a Republican president was in 1984 when it backed Ronald Reagan.

Many Bostonians consider it a poke in the eye that Romney, 65, has chosen Boston for his election night headquarters, the place where he would celebrate victory.

A giant letter "R" for Romney marks the Election Night Headquarters next to the city's convention centre.

"It makes me nauseous just walking by. The R's so big, it's just ridiculous," said Laura Fletcher, who works nearby, adding that she hopes Romney "will get booed out of town".

Many in Boston share her sentiment, especially at the Tobin Community Center, in an racially diverse part of town, where voters arrived at 7 am to cast their ballots.

"When Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he stank, he didn't do anything for us," said Peter Gray, a 66-tear-old Obama supporter. "He left bad vibes when he was governor."

Another Obama backer, Kristen Bennett, 45, said Romney "just lacks the critical thinking skills necessary to make decisions. I think a lot of people think he was a pretty bad governor."

Frank Balgatas, 55, was one of the few Romney supporters here who waived away Democratic volunteers' "Tax the Rich" pamphlets.

"I just think [Romney] is much more qualified, I don't think Obama was ever qualified for president," Balgatas said, praising Romney's business experience.

"He'll do more to unite people than Obama did in his four years. Obama divided people, that's all he did, and that's not a leader."

Others praised Romney's record of working with the Democratic dominated legislature.

"He was a bipartisan governor," said Boston resident David Bancroft, 30, who said he voted for Romney as state governor.

"I think people are very tired of Barack Obama," he said. "Four years ago, he promised hope and change and we have had for years of nothing but misery in this country.

"Mitt Romney is going to help restore confidence in the American people, bring the economy back."

Still, such views were in the minority.

A November 3 survey by Public Policy Polling predicted Obama would receive 57 per cent against Romney's 42 per cent.

And a Boston Globe poll last week gave Obama a 52-38 per cent lead against Romney in Boston and a 60-40 per cent edge statewide.

While other states have been bombarded with TV advertisements and visits by the two candidates, neither campaign has invested much time or money in Massachusetts.

Still, for some voters it was all too much.

"There's way too much money used to advertise," said Jim Dwyer, 42. "That money should go somewhere else."

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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