Being a Political Science major at UNH is like being a kid in a candy store. With New Hampshire being one of the most visited states for aspiring candidates and politicians alike, there is always something going on related to politics. Although I’m sure most of America was relieved that the election was over and they could talk about something other than politics, us die-hard fans couldn’t get enough. On November 8th in the Strafford Room of the MUB, we gathered to listen to two rock-stars of the Political Science faculty, Dante Scala and Andrew Smith, break down the election results. Titled, “What Happened? A Post-Election Discussion,” the two professors covered everything from the national race to the local turnout. Moderating the discussion was English professor and journalist Tom Haines.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that Professor Scala is my advisor, and I’m taking Professor Smith’s class on presidential politics this semester. Both are extremely knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of NH politics, and it was great to hear them go back and forth on a range of issues. They discussed the future of campaign finance, why President Obama won and Governor Romney lost, as well as election polls and how they impact voters. As director of the UNH survey center, Professor Smith was able to speak to how the UNH polls predicted the election, as well as the quality of other national polls. Although I did not vote in NH, it was also interesting to hear their take on the governor, Senate, House, and other local NH races. Professor Haines’ best question of the night asked how NH has changed over the years and how future candidates will need to cater to this shifting world. Both professors remarked how Barack Obama’s wins not only in NH but also all over the country demonstrate the changing landscape in America.
Turnout was pretty good for this event, with considerable attendance from members outside the UNH community. UNH is pretty unique in this way; our campus is in the town and vice versa, providing many opportunities to interact with one another. The question and answer session lasted longer than the allotted time, and definitely could have gone on further into the night. For me, the end of the discussion felt like the official end of the election cycle. However, as Professor Smith noted, the political campaigns for 2016 have already begun, so there will be no shortage of opportunities for the discussion of politics!
Written by Samantha Friedman, UNH Class of 2015