Locke said she officially endorsed Obama the week after the South Carolina debate with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, who has since dropped out of the race.
Democratic Party, and it doesn't do much to motivate the electorate — and I've gotten that from people who I've known for years who were apolitical," Locke said.
Like several others interviewed, Locke said she was particularly impressed that Obama has sparked interest among 18- to 30-year-olds, which she called "a part of the electorate that has been disconnected for years."
She noted that she attended an Obama fund-raiser in Richmond that attracted about 1,000 people and that 60 percent of them were in that age group, including the people staffing the event.
Moses Wilson III, an HU junior from Rocky Mount, N.C., believes Obama's message of change resonates with younger voters, because "he shares something very common with us."
"When you think of Washington, first you think of negative and old money and old politicians," said Wilson, who is the deputy state coordinator of Students for Barack Obama. "Barack Obama is a fresh face. He doesn't come from old money. He didn't agree with the war in Iraq ..."
BaCote said she believes Obama is simply "the one that can best direct these United States."
Lucas, who defected from the Clinton camp, said she was somewhat swayed by recent events, including some of the national support picked up by Obama.
"I started with Obama last year, then I took a neutral view and leaned toward Hillary," Lucas said. "I listened to people who endorsed him, and when I listened to the daughter of President Kennedy say that she is inspired by him, that really said something."
Gaylene Kanoyton, chair of the Hampton Democratic Committee, who as an individual supports Obama, said she believes many young voters would be lost if Obama does not win the nomination.
"To me, the key is Generation X and Generation Y," Kanoyton said. "I don't think that even Bill Clinton had the younger voters motivated the way Barack has. They see someone new with some fresh ideas who can represent the views that they support."
Most agree that whoever the nominee is, the party will have to come together afterward.
"We have two fine candidates who are running," Spruill said. "In November, when the time comes, they're going to need each other."
Kanoyton was one of a few not afraid to touch on the subject of the two candidates sharing the ticket for a presidential candidacy.
"Well, you know politics always makes strange bedfellows," Kanoyton said. "We're all family, and families have their differences, but at the end of the day, we need to come out united."
Key election dates and events Today: York/Poquoson Committee discussion on Democratic candidates, 7 p.m. East Room, Basement Level, York Hall, 301 Main St., Yorktown.
Tuesday: Super Tuesday Viewing Party, 6:30 p.m., Twist Restaurant and Banquet Facility, 25 Wythe Creek Rd., Hampton. Call 757-286-0277.
Also, the Coffee Beanery, 1301 Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg, will be open late for Super Tuesday results viewing.
Tuesday, Feb. 12:
More Race for the White House news A11