Embed America: Voters question if this election matters
July 11th, 2012
12:21 PM ET
2 years ago

Embed America: Voters question if this election matters

Kensington, NH (CNN) – In fiery speeches and fundraising pleas, both sides in the 2012 presidential contest are stressing one common theme: This is a critical election year. It matters.

Voters may see it very differently.

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"Bottom line? It doesn't really affect me that much," said Mike Thomas, an unemployed construction and medical worker in Lewiston, Maine, who is precisely the American both President Obama and Mitt Romney say they care about most. But Thomas doesn't think either man can make that much of a difference in his life.

Thomas is part of CNN Radio's Embed America project. Two teams of CNN Radio reporters are driving across the country on an old school, report-the-issues-from-the-ground road trip, with one car driving from Miami to Los Angeles and another from Maine to Montana.

Day one in Maine and New Hampshire brought the first surprise: Voter after voter told our team they didn't think this election would make that much of a difference.

Mechanic Daniel Morelli in Kensington, New Hamsphire shook his head.
"I don't put that much stock in what they say and what they do," he said, "So I'm not gonna be excited."

About a mile down a curving road, a voter who only gave her first name, Lori, was checking her mail when she told CNN Radio, "There's nothing I can say, I don't get into politics, it's all BS."

Between them, Maine and New Hampshire only represent 8 electoral votes. And Maine is considered safe territory for Mr. Obama.

But New Hampshire is a closely-watched swing state. Both the president and Mitt Romney have visited the Granite State in the past three weeks, with Romney celebrating the fourth of July there.

But voters in the region seem to be deeply skeptical that either man would make a difference in their lives.

In New Hampshire's Rockingham County, an area that Obama especially needs to win, voter Jean Carroll looked out at a nearby highway, thinking about an election where she sees no candidate who can change the country.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do," she said.


Filed under: Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Expat American

    It matters a lot. The nation can move forward in spite of the Republicans or go back in time 12 years because of the Republicans.

    July 11, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Don

    If they don't think this election matters they aren't paying attention. There hasn't been such a difference in political paths in my lifetime. But the truth is it will take a landslide to stop the madness. And unfortunately that is improbable.

    July 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. ThisSerious

    The only way our country can have a successfully democracy is when we have compromise. This country needs conservatism and liberalism to keep both sides in check, but we have always had compromise. This 111 and 112th Congress has been a great disappointment. The 111th Senate was filled with constant filibusters from the Senate. The 112th was filled by inaction due to no tax pledges and a rigid Tea Party unable to bend from their ideology. Who does that? How can you do what's best for the country if you tie one hand behind your back. Its sad that people don't realize that the President only represents one branch, and there is only so many promises he can provide that does not require Congressional approval. I urge the American people to ignore the election year politics and look at the last three years of Congressional inaction, and vote in people who will go to Congress to compromise not to fight for ideology.

    July 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. demwit

    The people of Maine and New Hampshire, both of which vored for Obama's Hope and Change in 2008, now think that this election will not make any difference in their lifes? And CNN's old school, report-the-issues-from-the-ground road trip reports don't see the real story??

    July 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. RealityBites

    Hope and Change meet Shame and Blame.

    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. The GOP needs to pack up and leave

    Every election year matters, but it's absolutely imperative that the GOP get kicked out of politics if our country is to survive.

    July 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. CRAIG

    The election will make a huge difference. If Romney wins, the financial hole we're in will get bigger & the middle class will shrink even more. Romney will be in the pockets of the corporate giants who will do anything to turn our country into the United Corporations of America. Obama on the other hand will continue on a course which is beneficial to all Americans ie: health care for all & jobs bills that will keep jobs here such as the rebuilding of our crumbled infrastructure. Also, extremely important is the Supreme Court as probably two members will resign. Obama 2012!!!

    July 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    It's pretty simple:

    If Mittens wins and the GOP hangs onto the House, maybe even takes Senate since 23 Dems are up and only 10 GOPers are up, then we'll get status quo in the form of GOP/Teatroll policies running amok like they did 2000-2008. Deregulation, tax cuts, a putrid focus on killing Medicare/caid and SS, wealth redistribution upwards, attacks on domestic social rights like the right to choose, the right to be married and have your private marriage contract recognized by the gov't, crazy immigration policy in reaction to the growing brownness of Amurika, etc etc etc.

    If Obama is elected, we most likely have the House held by the GOP again and the Senate in whoever's hands, but nobody with the power to overturn a veto if Obama issues one. In that case, we get status quo in the form of the GOP/Teatrolls throwing a massive, inconsolable temper tantrum for at least another 2 years, bstructing everything, refusing to even give judicial and other nominees a hearing, record numbers of filibusters, holding the national deficit hostage and threatening to default, threats to shut down the gov't if they don't get their way on Medicare/caid and SS and the ACA, and repeated symbolic domestic social issue enactments that have nothing to do with fixing the economy or addressing other issues that should be top priority.

    July 11, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. tellin it like it is

    it sure does matter. this will be this country's last chance to keep from going the way of greece. 4 more years of obama and obamacare and we'll all be rioting in the streets when this whole house of cards implodes. maybe then these fools will care? problem is that 50-60% of the people in the country are totally ignorant by choice and don't vote. but given how dumb so many of them are, especially the young kids, it is probably better they not vote. i think that is why obama uses them. i believe the term is useful idiots.

    July 11, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Anne-Florida

    For anyone with half a brain, this election is very important. Do we want a middle class in America? For retired folks, do you want to still have your social security and medicare? Do we want the Supreme Court to be all conservative and overturn Roe? Do women have the rite to have birth control? The list is endless and in one of Romney:s ads, he lists what he will do on day 1 – more tax cuts!!!

    July 11, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. tellin it like it is

    >If Obama is elected, we most likely have the House held by the GOP again and the Senate in whoever's hands, but >nobody with the power to overturn a veto if Obama issues one. In that case, we get status quo in the form of the >GOP/Teatrolls throwing a massive, inconsolable temper tantrum for at least another 2 years, bstructing everything, >refusing to even give judicial and other nominees a hearing, record numbers of filibusters, holding the national deficit >hostage and threatening to default, threats to shut down the gov't if they don't get their way on Medicare/caid and SS >and the ACA, and repeated symbolic domestic social issue enactments that have nothing to do with fixing the >economy or addressing other issues that should be top priority.

    so the lesson is that obama should not be re-elected if he country wants to move forward. otherwise if obama is re-elected, and has a republican house and senate, he will be the obstructionist to what the elected representatives of the people have passed for legislation if he vetoes everything. the past 4 years have proven that obama simply refuses to work with republicans to compromise on anything. that is why it would be best for him to hit the road in november.

    July 11, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Keith in SoJax

    Actually, I give Obama a 65% rating as President. The economy was in a total freefall when he was sworn in, and thats stopped. Obamacare did some things right, and totally ignored others so I give it a 50:50 rating. It should be improved with Tort reform, and fundamental changes to the business environment that switches it from Employer driven to individual driven and reforms should be enacted to increase competition among insurers.

    Now the prospect of another Republican monopoly makes me shudder.... Our nation entered some really dark hours in the waning hours of the last Republican in the White House. Its hard to shake the memories of 1,000,000 jobs lost in 1 month, the bail out of the banks (poorly executed BTW), and the prospects of a full blown depression...all of which happened after 8 years of Republican leadership. So, don't count me as a Democrat as much as an Anti-Republican.

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Robb

    Sniffit – Very well said! That is spot on!

    July 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Severely Moderate

    Election doesn't matter = We don't need Rmoney

    July 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |