Raleigh, N.C. — Many voters in the Triangle stayed up last night or woke up early this morning to election results that surprised both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporters.
Students gathered at North Carolina State University’s Talley Student Center to watch Clinton’s concession speech Wednesday afternoon after a long night of watching election results.
Both Clinton and Trump supporters were eager to see her response, and many agreed her message was important in healing a divided electorate.
It is non-traditional for a concession speech to be the day after the election, as it usually takes place almost immediately after the winner is announced. But there has been absolutely nothing traditional about this election, so students said the concession speech followed that theme.
Many young people said they are interested in the country coming together and making an effort to work toward common goals after such a divisive campaign season.
Student Layla McCutcheon voted for Clinton, but she said she is cautiously optimistic about the country’s future.
“I’m a little shocked, but I think a lot of it was driven by people that were understated,” she said. “I think a lot of the silent majority was obviously underrated.”
She said she saw a different side of Trump in his acceptance speech that gives her some hope.
“I like the way he said his acceptance speech. I felt that it was a different version than I had seen of him before. So it gives me a little bit of faith that maybe it won’t be quite as insane as it seems it will be,” McCutcheon said.
She said she was impressed with Clinton’s concession speech and hopes the vision she promoted will become a reality.
“I hope that she continues that message, and I hope that we can come together to be a little more cohesive as a national and potentially hopefully merge goals of either party, even if it’s just a little bit.”
Many people were surprised by the results since most polls had Clinton winning. Political experts say pollsters questioned too many urban voters and not enough rural voters.
“We just didn’t do a god job collecting data,” said David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College.
Logan McClamb, a student who voted for Trump, said he was “stunned” by last night’s results.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all. I thought for sure that Hillary was going to win, and I thought that she was going to win by a landslide,” McClamb said.
But he is confident if Trump decides to use his advisors, he will ultimately help the country progress.
“Since he is a CEO and has been for many years, I feel like he is going to surround himself with the smartest, most gifted people that America has to offer, and he’s going to try to make sure he runs the country the best that he can.”
He said he hoped Clinton’s supporters would react better to the results after hearing her concession speech.
“If she gives the people that followed her all the way from the beginning a good message, I feel that will put a lot of her voters at rest,” he said.
The largest takeaway from young voters is how much they noticed the immediate change from an ugly campaign to such a diplomatic mood.
“Getting angry, getting mad at people, being rude to each other is not going to solve it,” Terri Edwards said. “We just have to pray that hopefully we’ll learn from this and do our part the next time elections come around.”
Trump and Clinton supporters alike were pleased with her message of moving forward and respecting one another.
“Everyone wants unity. That’s a common theme for everyone, and hopefully that’s something we’ll see in the next couple of months,” student Natalie Labonge said.
Voters said they are ready to move past the negative campaigns.
“I think we all have to come together and make it work because we don’t have any choice at this point,” Larry Zucchino said. “I think we’ll find a way.”
Many other voters, especially students, said they are still processing the results of the election internally and aren’t ready to weigh in just yet.
A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.