Northwestern students follow election results at political science watch party

Tom Meyer

About 50 Northwestern students watched election projections from races around the nation pour in at award-winning political science professor Kenneth Janda’s midterm election watch party Tuesday night.

The event, which Janda said has been held every two years since 1988, was held at the McCormick Tribune Center for the first time this year. It has previously been held in Scott Hall.

“We’ve been doing this a very long time, over 20 years, but this year Professor (Larry) Stuelpnagel invited us over here,” he said. “This has always been a political science event, so we were glad to move to (a Medill building), and the venue is much better this year.”

Students occasionally cheered or booed in reaction as projections were made.

The crowd of students gathered in the foyer outside the MTC Forum. Two TVs showed CNN’s coverage, and a third ran a Powerpoint presentation that Janda had created about the Tea Party movement.

For some students at the event, it was an opportunity to watch the votes come in with others who were interested in the results.

“I always used to watch election results come in with my parents,” Weinberg sophomore Laily Sheybani said. “It’s a very exciting time, and there’s a lot of suspense. I knew there wouldn’t be a great atmosphere in (my dorm), so when I heard about this, I felt it was the best place for me.”

Janda said he considered the election an occasion to see how much influence the Tea Party movement will actually have – a subject he said he plans to study in the weeks to come.

Janda also said the party serves as a chance to see what political discussions are about.

“This is an opportunity for students to follow the election and talk about it,” Janda said. “So it’s a good college experience and a chance for them to get involved.”

However, Janda pointed out that turnout for the party was down from 2008, which he said he expected.

“We’ve had more (people) for the presidential elections, which is anticipated,” Janda said. “But it’s a self-selective process. Students who are interested in politics will want to come … Northwestern students are in general more interested in public affairs than, in general, students at state schools or community colleges.”

Weinberg sophomore Will Bloom said this election is important to him.

“This is what decides the course of our nation,” Bloom said. “At every level it’s important … and this election will probably see more seats in play than any in recent memory.”

[email protected]