Watching the race for US president from afar

By Abigail Hartevelt

Rotorua residents Wendy King and Robyn Coutts have a few things in common - they are both young, both live in the same street in Rotorua and they are from the United States.

However, they do not share the same views when it comes to the American elections, with Ms King backing Barack Obama to win today and Mrs Coutts a Mitt Romney supporter.

The pair, who are neighbours, cast early votes in the elections a few weeks ago, and both will be watching to see who becomes the president of the United States today.

Mrs Coutts, who is from California and has lived in New Zealand for 2 half years, said she voted for Romney as his values were more aligned to hers.

"His priorities closely reflect my priorities ... For me the big focus is developing the economy. The US is not in a good place financially and he [Romney] brings a good business background. He is pro-life which is a big one for me."

However Mrs Coutts thought Obama would win.

"He is a better speaker and is able to communicate effectively."

Ms King, who has lived in New Zealand off and on since 2007, believes Obama has the attitude her country needs.

"I voted for him four years ago. I would like to see him carry on with what he has started, achieve more of what he has already set out to do."

Ms King is from Florida - one of the close battle grounds.

"It's a swing state. It could go either way." She didn't agree with Romney's position on women's rights.

"He just doesn't seem to be fighting for women to get more rights. His whole thing is 'let's go back to how things were' and that's not what I want at all."

While they have differing views on who should lead the United States for the next four years both say it was important to vote despite now living in another country.

"Even though I'm overseas, I'm still an American. Even though I'm not there and I'm not going to be directly affected," Ms King said.

For more on the American election, see A9 and A10.


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