- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Outside many D.C.-area polling centers on Tuesday, the scene could have been mistaken for 2008 — long lines of voters shivering in the crisp autumn air, multicolored campaign leaflets fluttering in the breeze — but behind the lawns full of campaign signs and “I Voted” stickers, there was a change in energy that even President Obama’s supporters could feel.

Greeting voters as they walked into a polling center in Alexandria, 66-year-old Betty Guttmann said compared to the last election, “people seem less enthusiastic this year.”

“Now it’s more rechanneled,” said Ms. Guttmann, wearing a hat supporting Obama. “It’s like we’ve done it, we did it, what’s next?”

Ms. Guttmann said she remembered the thrill of the 2008 election. Even her friends living in Europe felt exhilarated by the news of Mr. Obama’s victory, but the last four years have dulled emotions.

“It was an historic election, life-changing,” Ms. Guttmann said. “It was the first black president. A re-election is not as historic.”

That’s not to say Ms. Guttmann, or other Obama supporters, have given up on their candidate. Some noticed a difference in momentum from four years ago.

“Four years ago it was so exciting,” said 78-year-old Alexandria resident Kathleen Dullea as she left a polling center. The mood and energy now is “exciting … but it’s more determined.”

One similarity to four years ago was the spontaneous celebrations that erupted on the streets of the District when television networks called the race for Mr. Obama. Though smaller in scale than those in 2008, crowds of people around the U Street area celebrated and shot fireworks.

Seat Pleasant Councilman Reveral Yeargin was one Obama supporter who felt this year’s campaign spurred more interest and energy.

“I think people are most excited now than they were,” the 50-year-old said as he handed out fliers at Central High School in Capitol Heights.

Voters heading to the polls drove through a forest of campaign workers who stood along the school’s long driveway, handing out brochures and information sheets.

One of the most boisterous and congenial in the line of campaign supporters standing along the road was Mr. Yeargin.

“I think [in 2008] it was more nervous excited because you didn’t know whether he was going to win,” Mr. Yeargin said. “Now we’ve had four years and you say, ‘OK, if we can get back in …’ there’s still work to do.”

Germantown resident Shan Yang said she voted for Mr. Obama, but only because “Romney’s worse.”

“Obama, I wouldn’t say I’m completely for him,” the 50-year-old said. “I don’t trust Romney.”

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