ELL LIVE BLOG: Americans and British party in Hackney as United States chooses Obama over Romney

Pic: Brittany Hogan/Flickr.

Eastlondonlines reporters were out and about in southeast London until the wee hours of the morning watching reactions as each US state went red or blue.

Romney had an early lead, taking the previous Obama states of Indiana and Kentucky, but ELL reporters failed to find anyone pulling for Romney.

Obama supporters formed an overwhelming majority at Dukes Brew n Que and cheers broke out around 4 AM when the President took Ohio, putting him past the threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to win re-election.

As one American woman said: “You know it’s for real when even Fox News calls it for Obama.”

To track the progress of our reporters throughout the night, check out our live blog below


Right that’s all from us everyone, thanks for following. If you are one of the hardcore that are sticking with it to the end we leave you in the capable hands of the major news outlets. Thanks to all our contributors. We leave you with a picture of Sam, Rainelle and Barack.

[quote by=] Rainelle from Michigan and Sam from Ohio, who are sitting with a framed picture of Obama on their table say they are nervous but hopeful and would really like  a result by 3am so that they can go home to their beds with an early victory.[/quote]

[quote by=] John and Alex from Canary Warf are rooting for Obama and say “there’s no clear cut winner but there are the green shoots of hope.”[/quote]

The comedy side of things in Bethnal Green are starting to slip. We currently have a woman on stage dressed up as an elephant talking about how she used to be friends with a donkey.


Boos fills the room as Tennessee and Arkansas go Romney, pushing him back in the lead.

[quote by=] Canadian Obama supporter, David Lee,  has just announced that “Romney is Bush-redux”.[/quote]

Our reporter Sasha Filimonov has pointed out that in the excitement I haven’t pointed out that Obama has taken the lead for the first time. The President now has 57 electoral votes to Romney’s 40.


Outrage in Bethnal Green as the Sky box nearly goes on standby.


Although the run of results that just came through has helped get over the disapointment of Ohio being delayed pretty much inevitably, we are still no closer to having any clear inclination of what way the election is going to go. Gareth Morinan who’s offering the ‘expert analysis’ on stage at Bethnal Green has summed up the current state of affairs pretty well:


We are now running the live blog direct from a corner of Bethnal Green Social Club just as its announced Obama has taken Maine, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, District of Colombia, Deleware and Rhode Island which has massively livened up the room. In other news Romney has unsurprisingly taken Oklahoma.


It is quiet out there. A little too quiet. So, to make things that little bit louder we have 42-year-old Byron, the owner of Duke’s:

[quote]”The thing that pisses me off about American politics is the electoral college- we need to get rid of it. I just hope Obama wins.” Who can argue with that?[/quote]


…good thing no one is shocked that Romney just took West Virginia. Not Democrat since 2000…


Oh so important Ohio result is coming up shortly.

[quote]”excitement from the audience for Ohio- audience start a drum roll and begin clapping, people are stamping the floor..” in Bethnal Green[/quote]


Internet stories are circulating that Romney has already written his 1118-word acceptance speech. Bold, if true. He is on the move, though.


Our icy cool reporters are at risk of falling in love with the Bethnal Green barmaid. “”If he’s got Florida, he’s won!” she bellows of Obama.


[error]International students from Goldsmiths sit anxiously: “As the first results start coming in, around half a dozen Americans have settled into the common room at Ewen Henderson Court with their shoes off and coats being used as blankets. We have Goldsmiths students from Ohio, Washington DC, California and Virginia all watching the BBC coverage and discussing the voting experiences of those back home. Talk seems to be revolving around the razor-close outcome of the 2000 election and fear that we may have a similar situation tonight. Despite a bottle of champagne placed optimistically on the table, there is no wild partying here – just the anticipation of a long night and an uncertain outcome.”[/error]


Reports coming in that Obama took Vermont…


[quote]”cheers from the CNN room and claps as Obama wins Florida- the mood has lifted!” according to our reporters in Bethnal Green[/quote]


[info]tweet from @Eastlondonlines: McDonald’s providing food at US embassy election party in London.pic.twitter.com/hfSwUy4n @DylanCNN #ELLelection[/info]


Wait. Everything is back to normal at the Club now. The compere has said he will let someone write the name of any swing state that Romney wins on his face in black marker. Confident. And so is this young lady, Gemma Sutherland, who is a development studies student from Bethnal Green. She told ELL that Romney is not suitable to lead the United States because he is ‘reactionary’.



There may be a lot of boos for Mitt tonight in a certain corner of Bethnal Green…


Nervous time at the Working Men’s Club: [quote]”Indiana results in: republican.11 electoral college votes. One pub goer starts chanting ‘Romney!'”[/quote]


It is important to remember that voting is a big decision. As DC native Molly McCormick told ELL in the Brew & Que: “When you pick the president you’re also picking a symbol, he might not be all that powerful but you’re saying ‘this is the America we’re going to be.”

She was joined by Caitlin Gutekunst, 28 from New York, and Be Fore, 26 from Chicago. Caitlin said she had mixed emotions, and admitted that she wished she was at home. More positively, Be said that being from ‘Obama Town’ was a reason for her to be proud.


The Bethnel Green club is offering sanctuary to strays. Some nervous souls wanted to follow the Election in a busy King’s Cross venue, but were turned away. There is plenty of room in East London.


One of our reporters has messaged to explain the atmosphere before the serious stuff starts:

[quote]”At Bethnal Green Men’s club, they have put a fun spin on the election, as stand up comedians entertain the waiting crowd. The two floors are filled with anticipating Obama-supporters, Americans and one lonely Romney fan. On the top floor they are showing the BBC on a huge screen and on the second floor there is CNN’s version. The vibe is festive, and people are expectant of an Obama win.”[/quote]


According to CNN the incumbent Chief cried in Iowa today. This sounds like a country and western lyric, but it is being reported. Maybe he is crying about the broken counting machines?


[info] A tweet from @Eastlondonlines: Some pubgoers @DukesJoint asked if they are #Romney supporters. No. “None of them make it out of America.” #ELLelection[/info]


[quote]Christina, 28, from Maryland is enjoying the atmosphere at the Brew & Que. She has lived nearby for ‘a long time’ and knows the nightlife fairly well. We asked her where she would take Mitt Romney for a night out in Hackney. Her response? “I would take him to the Hackney Community Centre, for a bit of child’s play.” [/quote]


There is a special CNN room in the Working Men’s club. Few were willing to sit through the punditry whilst the comedy was going on, but slowly and surely more and more have drifted in. They have heard of a record turnout in New Hampshire, and now some voters are openly raising concerns that they may have voted the wrong way.


While many will be watching proceedings from the comfort of their couch, not everyone is getting a beautiful picture. At the Brew & Que they have a special late license, but they are having a few streaming issues and after 23:00 Hackney Council demand that everyone stays inside. If it is not close enough in the counting room, it certainly will be in Haggerston.


Comedian Eric McElroy, 40, took some time out at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club to tell us which candidate would be a better President and which would be a better punchline:


At the Brew & Que coverage has switched from BBC to Al-Jazeera. All in the name of impartiality. No one is making that same call at Bethnal Green, where it is rather plain to see who the bar staff are supporting…


It is still early, but already we have a contender for best overheard comment of the night: “And do you remember last time, there was a woman who named her baby Sarah Palin, and I was like ‘have you lost your mind?'”


[quote]Shari Jessie from Washington, DC and Aleighsha Butler from New York have taken some time to share their fears in the Brew & Que.
Jessie said: “I’m terrified. We really do not know, but I think the country will pull through and he’ll [Obama] get the vote. My folk are from New Hampshire, though, which is a swing state. That’s important!”
Her New Yorker cohort simply said: “I’m either drinking to celebrate, or to drown my sorrows.”[/quote]


One of our reporters has been tipped off by ‘Doug’ from Bethnal Green, in a dark corner of the Working Men’s Club. He has put £30 on Obama to win by 302 electoral college votes. Not that we condone gambling, of course.


A panel is up discussing the election in the Working Men’s Club. According to our experts, Ohio will be a key state, and a point of great speculation. Perhaps they have an opinion on the Telegraph’s story on faulty counting machines that are, allegedly, changing Obama votes to Romney votes?


Boos have broken out at the Brew & Que as Mitt Romney appears on the screen. The masked man, 27-year-old Swede Peter Bbaale came out specifically for this reason, he says.


Meanwhile, back at the Brew & Que, someone has made an unexpected appearance…


[error]Goldsmiths Television Journalism student Stephanie Okupniak-Vaughan,30, originally from Philadelphia: “Being away from home for the first time during a presidential race has been edgy and a blessing.  Edgy because I am relying on a different Media structure to provide the real time information.  I feel blessed because I’m not being bombarded by the presidential propaganda.  This election is equal parts nail biting and dynamic which makes it all that more important to vote. At home my sister has driven from New York to Philadelphia to with two infants to be able to vote. Anyone worth their salt right now is lining up to cast their vote no matter what the temperature.”[/error]


The live coverage is on…


Chris Coltrane, a comedian who focuses on activism, is talking to an audience with standing room only as the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Has opened up with a celebration of the news that Nadine Dorries mp has been suspended following her trying to go on I’m a Celebrity

21: 55

The comedy show is well underway at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club as part of their Election Giggle 2012. Bar is filled to capacity, with people being turned away at the door. The majority here are supporting Obama, although there are a few Romney supporters scattered about.


We have seen our first stetson of the nigh, at the Brew & Que!


Over at the Bethnal GreenWorking Men’s Club, a comedian is warming up the crowd.

Pic: Tomas Jivanda

Eric McElroy is first up, an American that recently attained a UK passport.He slotted in a few messages of support for Romney to make the atmosphere “a little less one sided”, before  throwing support behind Obama.


The live broadcast may not begin until 22:00, but things are already hotting up at Dukes Brew & Que. Some armchair politicos better pace themselves. Counting votes can be a logistical nightmare, especially after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.


More from Mr. Shimp, who would like to report an over-eager postie. When his postal vote arrived, the envelope had been ripped open! If there is an irregular vote in California, he’ll be pointing his finger at the Royal Mail…


Two strapping North Americans certainly feel like the votes will go one way, but only just.

[quote]Ollie Rankin, visiting from Canada, 36

“My biggest fear is that Obama is gonna get back in, but faced with a Republican dominated house and four more years of no legislation. Then Jeb Bush will get in on a landslide next time around…”[/quote]

[quote]Greg Shimp, of Islington, originally from Pennaylvania, 44

“I fear it will be closer than it should be, but Obama wins. It’s all down to the northern ones [states], which should go to Obama because he pulled the car industry out. I think the surprise will be [those in] the military, who usually go Republican. The young ones who have been on service will have had enough of it.”[/quote]


As if to illustrate the point, reporters from Dukes Brew & Que in Hagerston have been sending pictures in:


[quote] “Tables heaving with bbq meat are fully booked for the evening and there’s barely space at the bar to order a pint of imported US ale. The live transmission begins at 10, and excitement is starting to build…”

Intrepid indeed…[/quote]

20: 48

[quote]”ELL’s intrepid reporters have hunkered down at Duke’s with beverages and nourishment to bring you up-to-the-minute reactions and commentary from Hackney residents on all the action in the US election. Who will win? Which will be the killer state? And what is it about US politics that gets us Brits so excited?  One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a tight race – and a very long night…”

Ocscar Quine, ELL reporter[/quote]


Pic: Oscar Quine


The Election may be on the other side of The Pond, but ripples are being felt here in London. Eastlondonlines caught up with some of the people of Lewisham yesterday morning to see how they felt about the Election:


  1. Sally November 6, 2012
  2. Geraldine November 7, 2012

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