VANDALIA, Ill.—The loudspeakers blared “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” as a victorious Barack Obama appeared before the Democratic faithful early Wednesday morning in Chicago—but while they swayed to the Stevie Wonder classic, voters in Southern Illinois scratched their heads.
Once again, downstate voting looked nothing like the Chicago totals. Once again, Chicago ruled. Statewide, President Obama captured 57 percent of the vote, but Mitt Romney carried all but four counties in the southern two-thirds of the state. In places like Fayette County, in south-central Illinois, Gov. Romney defeated the president by a 2-to-1 margin: 66 percent to 32 percent. Republican candidates swept virtually all the contested races in the county.
In his acceptance speech, Obama declared, “The task of perfecting our union moves forward” and promised that “the best is yet to come.” For downstate Illinois residents hard-hit by the effects of a sagging economy and last summer’s drought, a good deal of perfecting is needed—but the juggernaut that is Chicago “signed, sealed, and delivered” an election result that left many residents of the state’s mostly-red, lower 75 counties feeling decidedly blue.