“It’s 51 for Obama to 49 for Romney with 60% reporting,” my friend in Ohio texted me. “We’re getting a little giddy here.”

Not long afterward, I hurried through the door at the Heartland Cafe just in time to hear the cheers as Ohio pushed Obama’s electoral college votes over the threshold to victory. There were smiles all around the two packed rooms. But instead of joy, the emotion for some seemed to be relief.

“I was scared,” Claire, a 49th Ward resident and volunteer for the nonpartisan electoral watchdog group Common Cause, told me. “I couldn’t sleep last night.” But now that Obama had won a second term, “I think he should go for gold,” she said. “Particularly with the environment in mind. It comes down to the planet’s survival.”