NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Whether they chose President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney, many Louisiana voters say more political cooperation is needed but unlikely.
“We need to work more closely together,” Democrat Rebecca Stilling, 57, of Metairie, said after voting for Obama on Election Day.
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office has said as many as 70 percent of registered voters might turn out Tuesday in Louisiana, where Republican John McCain got 58.6 percent of the vote against Obama in 2008.
Perry Kleyle, a 66-year-old registered independent who owns a battery supply business, said someone like former President Ronald Reagan is needed to bridge the political divide. He wasn’t expecting more cooperation any time soon.
“I don’t think if you had 10 parties you would get better cooperation,” he said. “Nobody wants to listen to the other guy. Everybody just wants to shout.”
Kleyle said he voted for Romney because “there’s been a complete vacuum of leadership” under Obama.
“Nothing he said in ‘08 that was going to happen has happened to the degree that anybody expected,” Kleyle said.
Gloria K. Smith, a Democrat, said she cast her ballot for Obama again this year in the hope that the president would continue to work on universal health care, giving everyone a chance to go to college and rebuilding the economy.
“It was a long haul when he first took office,” said the 62-year-old parish government clerk. “There were a lot of things out of place and he had a lot of things on his plate. It’s going to take more than four years.”
She said the political divide in the nation was healthy.
“I think it defines diversity and freedom of speech. People having different opinions, wanting different things.”
William Lee, a 28-year-old software developer and registered Republican who voted for John McCain in 2008, said he was not persuaded by either of the major parties and voted for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.
Young people like him are not devoted to one party exclusively, he said.
“As far as the circle of people I know it’s not like that,” he said. “My parents are pretty polarized.”
He hopes the Libertarian Party gets enough of the vote to be taken seriously as a “real political party.”
“I just think the two-party system needs to be broken up,” he said. “More diversity in choices.”
Elen and Merrith Karl, a retired couple, said they voted for McCain in 2008 and for Romney this year. They have remained registered Democrats since Louisiana, now considered a die-hard Republican state, was dominated by Democrats. The last time they voted for a Democratic candidate for the White House was Jimmy Carter in his first bid, they said.
The Democratic Party has become too liberal, Merrith Karl said. Still, he said, “I don’t vote by party, I vote by candidate.”
He said he hoped a Romney presidency would fuel a rebound in the economy.
“From what you see and what you feel, money doesn’t go as far as it used to,” he said.
Elen Karl said she likes Romney’s experience in the private sector and businessman’s approach.
Her husband said the parties should work together more, though polarization appears to be worsening.
“I wish they would all get along together, that would make it a lot easier if both parties would jell together instead of fighting all the time,” Merrith Karl said. “Do what’s best for the country.”