Kevin O'Connor / Staff Photo
Brattleboro voter Susan Cross visited the polls Tuesday with her cat, Pakalana, who just came from the veterinarian. "She's old enough to vote," Cross said of her 19-year-old feline.
Think globally, act locally? In Vermont this Election Day, it was instead vote locally, think nationally.
“I’m very nervous,” Middlebury educator Kerry Burns-Collins said leaving the polls. “I’ll have to move to New Zealand if Mitt Romney wins.”
From Brattleboro to Burlington, Tuesday’s ballot featured dozens of municipal, county and state races. But Vermonters focused most on the presidency — and their support for incumbent Barack Obama, according to interviews with voters in seven major cities and towns.
“He has disappointed me, but that other guy scares me,” said Randolph psychotherapist Marge Crowe, echoing the sentiment of many others statewide.
The national television networks didn’t wait a minute from the polls’ 7 p.m. close to project Obama had won the Green Mountain State and its three electoral votes — his first victory of the night.
“Even though Vermont is likely to go for him, voting for Obama is important to boost his national popular vote number,” Montpelier nurse Deborah Lowry said after casting her ballot.
In Burlington, University of Vermont student Celine Eid said she supported the president for his hands-off stances on social issues.
“As a woman,” Eid said, “I don’t agree with anything that Romney or most of the Republican men have been preaching.”
Romney — who sequestered himself in Vermont in September to prepare for his first debate — picked up a few local supporters. Springfield retiree Donna Blish, for example, said she voted for the Republican for his positions on jobs, the federal debt and “keeping us militarily strong.”
But more Vermonters agreed with Middlebury construction worker Sean Davio, who said he voted for Obama because “I don’t think it’s time for a change.”
Not that voters are content with the status quo. An Associated Press exit poll of 888 Vermont voters in 15 precincts found about half of respondents ranked the economy as their top concern, with about one in five of those surveyed rating health care as their most important issue.
About seven in 10 Vermont respondents supported Obama over Romney, the poll found, with four-fifths of those surveyed making their decision before September and only one in 20 waiting until Tuesday.
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