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Clinton Supporters Worry About GOP Opposition If She's Elected President

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

We're going to hear now about how the debate went over with some Hillary Clinton supporters. Many are cautiously optimistic about her chances to win the presidency on November 8, but they're also wondering what the next four years might bring after an ugly campaign. NPR's Don Gonyea spent some time with the Clinton faithful in Ohio.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: The Hillary Clinton campaign office in small town Delaware, Ohio, was jumping last night. About two dozen volunteers worked the phones and entered data into computers. In less than an hour, this would morph into a debate watch party. The vibe is positive. The polls look good, but retired college professor Larry Edwards cites the World Series-bound Cleveland Indians in offering caution.

LARRY EDWARDS: It's sort of, like, what the seventh inning, and the Indians are ahead so far. But somebody could get a, you know, massive hit, and...

GONYEA: Then he apologizes in advance for the cliche.

EDWARDS: It's not over until it's over.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS WALLACE: Good evening. From the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of...

GONYEA: The room goes dark. Everybody sits, watching the screen until there's an opportunity to cheer Clinton or mock Donald Trump as they did in that big moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WALLACE: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely - Sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

DONALD TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now.

(BOOING)

GONYEA: I'll look at it at the time. What I've seen is so bad. First of all...

GONYEA: Twenty-six-year-old Kyle Mullenix, a student and part-time cashier, says he's relieved debate season is now done.

KYLE MULLENIX: Yeah, just a little bit (laughter). It's a constant headache.

GONYEA: He thinks Clinton will win, but he doesn't see the acrimony of the campaign ending. Mullenix sees many Trump supporters just fading away but thinks others would actively work to undermine Clinton's legitimacy just as the Tea Party did President Obama. Thirty-five-year-old Stephanie Perkins works in digital marketing. She's actually a registered Republican who supports Clinton.

STEPHANIE PERKINS: Oh, I'm concerned regardless of who wins what happens. I've seen some really ugly parts of America come out and rear its head.

GONYEA: But she says if the Senate turns Democratic and if the GOP-controlled House is closely divided, then maybe there will be an incentive for people to work together at least a bit more than they have in recent years.

PERKINS: Hopefully it will be enough of a wakeup call for our elected representatives to start playing nicely in the sandbox.

GONYEA: Others here, though, see another obstacle.

MINDY HEDGES: I think because she's a woman, that she's had much greater difficulty and acceptance, which is really sad.

GONYEA: That's 60-year-old Mindy Hedges, who puts a lot of that on Trump. But talking to Clinton supporters last night - again, these are the truest of the true believers - such worries are paired with a faith in Clinton's ability to find a way to bridge these divides.

Several pointed to her time in the Senate when she had close colleagues on the Republican side, including Senator John McCain. Hedges says it's an area where Clinton's record is superior to Barack Obama's when he became president after four years in the U.S. Senate.

HEDGES: When President Obama came in, he was younger and didn't have as much experience, possibly didn't have as many associations as she does. So hopefully it will be easier for her.

GONYEA: But first things first, as every one of these volunteers told me, and that's keeping the pedal to the floor right on through until the polls close on Election Day. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Delaware, Ohio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.