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Voters on Wall Street Hope for Change


People working or voting in the heart of New York City's financial district have mixed opinions about what the election's outcome will mean to the prospects for economic recovery, on Wall Street and in the rest of the country. VOA's Carolyn Weaver talked to people on Wall Street today, and has more.

A news crier distributed a special election issue of a local newspaper to commuters hurrying to jobs in the financial district. Across Wall Street, people waiting in a long line to vote said they were prepared to be late to work.

"The decision is going to be a major one,” said one young woman, “It's going to impact everyone, so I think it's important that people come out to vote - because this is a big one."

In front of the New York Stock Exchange, some New Yorkers agreed to share their opinions about which candidate they think is more capable of solving the country's financial crisis. Insurance regulator Howard Baida says he thinks most Wall Streeters agree with his view. "I feel that Wall Street is hoping that perhaps Mr. McCain will pull out a win. But there's going to be a new era in how things are run fiscally on Wall Street, and I think it's going to be hopefully a better time in the financial markets."

Obama supporter Elba Melendez also cast her vote in hopes of better economic times. "Honestly, I think a lot of people are a little afraid of the way things are looking, but a lot of us, especially young people, are hopeful that with change we're going to see prosperity,” she says. “I think that's really the biggest part, that there's still hope out there."

Udaya Chitta is about to be laid off from his job as a software engineer at Citigroup. He told us, "I personally support Obama, because of the fresh breath of air that he brings to the table, but I have concerns as to if he would lead the country to a more liberal and socialistic policies."

"It's a lot of uncertainty, but eventually I think what makes this country great, people are optimistic, and we'll get out of it," says Gustavo Pereira. He's voting for McCain -- while Obama supporter Harriet Ladd says her Wall Street colleagues are as divided as the country: "It's a tough question. I think for people who wish to defend the status quo, they will tend to vote Republican.” She added, “People who feel that they are really, really on the wrong track, things need a substantial correction, will tend to go with Obama."

New Yorkers historically vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party candidate in presidential elections, so there is no suspense about who will win in the city's voting booths. But in Wall Street's current volatile atmosphere, concern about the next president's economic policies is the overriding issue.