Americans on P.E.I. share their thoughts about Tuesday's U.S. election

·5 min read

Americans go to the polls Tuesday in a historic election, and nobody will be watching more closely than the approximately 628,000 U.S. residents living in Canada, including on P.E.I.

It's been an intense election campaign. With just a few days to go, polls show Democrat Joe Biden leading, but nobody is ruling out U.S. President Donald Trump, who wants a second term.

CBC News talked to some Americans living in Prince Edward Island about the campaign, the issues and what they expect to unfold south of the border next week, reaching out by phone, through social media, and through groups and organizations.

Most voters said the campaign boiled down to one thing, leadership: Joe Biden versus Donald Trump.

'A lot of drama'

Carrie Marshall, 53, is a teacher and lives in New Dominion. She's originally from Illinois and has lived in Canada for more than two decades. She's following the election very closely, especially because she still has many family members living in Illinois.

Submitted by Carrie Marshall
Submitted by Carrie Marshall

She grew up as a Republican, but said she supported Biden this time. In fact, she already cast her ballot by mail earlier this month.

"It all comes down to leadership, a lot of drama. I'm concerned about the turn of the country and I'm hopeful that even if Donald Trump gets elected that what I am afraid of won't happen," she said.

"I'd like to see people less divided 'cause I know people that vote for Trump and I like them and they are not bad people, do you know what I mean? I feel like right now we've got this, you're either good or bad, you're for or you're against and there is so much more about people than that."

I have to mute the TV actually now when he comes on — I can't stand listening to him. — Rosemary O'Malley-Keyes

Of the U.S. residents CBC spoke to, Biden has the majority of the support — something also reflected in polls.

Voting against Trump

Rosemary O'Malley-Keyes of Stratford is not surprised by those poll numbers. She's originally from New York and has family who live throughout the U.S.

"I take great pride in having voted for Joe Biden," she said, noting she has never voted along party lines, but rather for the candidate. She said his experience in government gives her confidence he could run the country.

And, she is voting against Trump.

"I really don't think that requires any explanation. Every time he opens his mouth, something spews out that is disrespectful, rude, you know I could go on and on. So, I have to mute the TV actually now when he comes on — I can't stand listening to him speak," O'Malley-Keyes said.

O'Malley-Keyes has a daughter, two grandsons and three step-children who live in the U.S., along with several siblings.

'Pulse of the people'

Trump does have supporters in P.E.I. however.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

One of them is Don Wright of Charlottetown, originally from New York City, who has been using social media to support Trump.

"I am a supporter of Donald Trump by 1,000 per cent compared to, let's say, Joe Biden and four years ago, Hillary Clinton," Wright said, who said he doesn't belong to any party.

"He had a feel for the pulse of the people and he made promises and the thing about his promises is, he kept them. That's another thing most politicians have never done," Wright said. "When he does go out, there's nobody showing up for Biden, and then there's thousands, tens of thousands of people showing up for Trump so there's no question that he'll win."

'Family relationships are falling apart'

Jessica Strong said the divisiveness of U.S. politics right now scares her. She moved to P.E.I. last July and is an assistant professor at UPEI. She's originally from Kalamazoo, a city of about 75,000 in southwest Michigan.

Submitted by Jessica Strong
Submitted by Jessica Strong

"The stress level, I think, for me is that it feels like there's a lot more at stake in this election than there usually is," Strong said.

"A lot of the rhetoric that is being used is particularly divisive ... and that is not only happening between the candidates but it's filtering down to my friends and family in the States where family relationships are falling apart and friendships are falling apart because people can't even talk about these things. That makes it feel like there's a lot more at stake on like, a very personal level."

As a woman, I can't agree with the way that he talks about and treats women. — Jessica Strong

Strong said she usually tends to support third-party candidates, but this time around she voted for Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

"Trump scares me. Again, because of the language he uses towards any group that he can't identify with — you know, so as a woman, I can't agree with the way that he talks about and treats women. But that extends to any other intersectional identity that someone may hold who isn't a white male," she said.

Strong believes the race is a lot closer than either side is willing to admit.

That means people will be on the edge of their seats Tuesday night and possibly beyond, which she said will only prolong the anxiety.

She believes no matter who wins, there is a lot of healing that will have to take place in the U.S., a tall order for whomever wins the White House.

For more news and analysis of the U.S. election, check out CBC's Eric Grenier's Presidential Poll Tracker, here.

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