Little surprise among Obama supporters

CHICAGO, Ill. — Long before major news networks declared President Barack Obama the victor in last night’s presidential race, his base in Chicago started celebrating his victory.

Standing in line to enter the Obama campaign’s victory rally, Erica Brown said she was entering the festivities with the expectation that the president would win a second term.

“My expectations are out of the stratosphere,” she said. “He’s got this.”

For Brown and many of those in her position, a number of indications in the past few days and weeks already seemed certain proof that of a second Obama triumph.

Nate Silver, a pollster who runs the New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight, consistently projected above a 65 percent chance of an Obama victory throughout the last two weeks of the presidential campaign. In the days leading up to the election, Silver’s projection crept up to a 90 percent chance that the incumbent would prevail. Meanwhile, a positive final pre-election jobs report also boosted the hopes of Obama fans across the nation.

So when another attendee in line, Cassandra Prince, was asked whether Romney had a fighting chance, she found the idea inconceivable.

“I think [Republicans] are hard on [Obama] because of who he is as a person,” she said. “But he said it would take him two terms to clean up this mess, and he has done 99 percent of everything he’s promised to do.”

In fact, the sometimes-blind enthusiasm for President Obama in Chicago may have, for some people, eclipsed a more realistic snapshot of the nation’s consciousness. Prince’s friend, Payal Gandhi, suggested that turnout at Obama’s Victory Party — an event that rewards Obama campaign volunteers with tickets — is an indication of the support he holds across the country.

“He is for the people, and he cares about the people, and that’s why there are so many people here to support him,” she said.

Pastor Henry Holloway, who was standing in line right behind Prince and Gandhi, nodded vigorously.

“Honestly, too bad he can’t serve four more years after these four more years,” Holloway said.

By Election Night, Silver gave Obama a 90.9 percent chance of victory.

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