Interviews with swing-state voters: ‘NASA and space exploration, things like that are pretty important to me’

November 2, 2012

Darren Hauck / Reuters

From now until election day, Wonkblog will be interviewing decided and undecided voters from swing states about how they view the election.

Tell me a little about yourself.

My name's Louis Johnson, I'm 32, and I live in Centreville, Virginia.

Have you decided whom you're voting for in the presidential election?

Definitely leaning for the Obama camp.

Are you a Democrat?

I am, mostly. Sometimes it depends on the election. This year I am.

How does it depend? Are there some issues you agree with the Republicans more on, and others where you agree with the Democrats more?

I think of myself as a liberal person. A lot of the current views of Republicans, Mitt Romney in particular, I downright don't agree with. The particular views he has on women's rights, and the fact that my life is actually better than it was four years ago, I don't agree with what he says. 

Do you attribute your life being better to Obama's policies, or is that just happenstance?

Maybe a little of both. I got a new job in the last four years, maybe three years ago, a job I enjoy and do well at. Everything the Republicans are saying about Obama I just don't think are true. He ended up getting a huge mess dumped on his lap, and I think he's done an excellent job with what he's had so far. There's a need for change, but I think we're on the right track. 

Some Obama voters have expressed disappointment that he didn't get certain things done, like immigration reform or climate change legislation. Do you share that frustration? 

A little bit with climate change. That and some of the funding for NASA and space exploration, things like that are pretty important to me. Not all of that I blame directly on the president — it's just politics. Given four more years, they could sort it out.

Tell me more about your views on space exploration – that doesn't come up here often. 

Fully for it. It's the only reason we're going to exist as the human race. The decommissioning of the space shuttle program is really sad. They have things like the Rover to Mars, but not much. It's one of the under-mentioned things that to me, as a voter, is one of the more important issues. We're here on the ground ignoring what we can do out there. It's put by the wayside because of all the economic issues. If we paid more attention to it we'd be better off as a nation.

Are you paying attention to Virginia's Senate race? It's very close. 

Not so much. Most of what I'm voting, I'm going to vote Democrat this year, but that's mainly just to support Obama. I also feel like anything I can do to end the possibility of getting Republicans in more places.

For example, my wife is definitely scared of them overturning Roe v. Wade and women not having the rights they have because of that. I can't exactly relate to how she feels. Since I'm a white American male, I'm the least persecuted group in the country. But for her it's a big deal, and for most women it's a big deal. The more Republicans we have around the more chance of that getting turned around.

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