Obama re-elected US President in tight race
In today’s tight race, attention has focused on the key swing states of Ohio and Florida.
President Obama has swept 303 Electoral College votes against Romney’s 206 (at 8pm Wednesday NZ time) according to RealClearPolitics and Huffington Post.
This marks a narrower victory than in the 2008 election, when Obama took 365 Electoral College votes.
NBC and Huffington Post were first to declare the result at 5.08 NZ time after calling Florida for Obama.
NewsWire was one of the first New Zealand outlets to call the election.
Obama’s lead also includes swing states Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Virginia, while Romney took only North Carolina.
Obama has achieved a small lead in the popular vote with 49.5 per cent to Romney’s 49.0 percent, according to RealClearPolitics at 7pm NZ time.
With Democrat-dominated California yet to return all its votes, Obama is likely to take a clear lead in the popular vote before the end of the night.
Mitt Romney conceded defeat in an address to his supporters in Boston just before 7pm NZ time, congratulating President Obama and calling for bipartisan cooperation in the coming four years.
President Obama’s re-election makes this the first time that three consecutive Presidents have been re-elected to a second term since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were elected between 1800 and 1820.
Scenes of jubilation filled the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago.
The Democrats have retained the Senate, gaining a seat to take them to 52 seats, while the Republicans have 41 seats and four are still up for grabs.
President Obama faces a challenge in passing legislation in his second term, as the House is projected to remain under Republican control.
The Republicans hold 214 seats, the Democrats 159, and 63 have yet to be won.
In exit polls, Obama was favored by women (55%), young people (60%) and African Americans (93%). He also scored highly with Latino (71%) and Asian (73%) voters.
See-sawing swing states
Romney has achieved a small lead in the popular vote with 49.3 per cent to Obama’s 49.2 percent, according to RealClearPolitics at 6.24pm NZ time.
However, with Democrat-dominated California yet to return all its votes, Obama is likely to take the popular vote before the end of the night.
There are 538 Electoral College votes; 270 are needed to win.
Networks have also called swing states Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania for Obama, narrowing Romney’s chances of taking home enough Electoral College votes.
Obama has won a string of unsurprising victories in states that his campaign had counted on leading him toward 270 electoral votes.
Mitt Romney has lost his home state of Massachusetts and Paul Ryan has lost his home state of Wisconsin, ITV news reported.
The president has won Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware and the District of Columbia. All are heavily Democratic states.
At 3:45pm NZ time the New York Times reported Obama had won Michigan – where Mitt Romney was born and where his father was governor.
Romney has won Utah, Montana and Louisiana, reported the Huffington Post.
A little earlier, Obama was reported to be leading in the overall electoral college stakes.
According to results from RealClearPolitics, he was 10 points ahead of Romney with 201 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to become president.
According to Enstarz.com: “the polling analysis from RealClearPolitics showed 11 toss-up states with a total of 146 electoral votes remaining.
“The latest leanings of the toss-up states show Romney leading in Florida (29 votes), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13). The toss-up states currently leaning toward Obama are Ohio (18), Iowa (6), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10) and Colorado (9).”
EARLY results from today’s US Presidential election were giving mixed messages.
Mitt Romney has won West Virginia and its five electoral votes, according to The Tribune;
Obama has won Rhode Island, with 55% of people giving him the state’s four electoral votes.
Early results from Indiana indicated it to be the first state Barack Obama has lost from his 2008 victory.
At the previous election, Obama won the state by 1% over his rival John McCain.
An hour or so after booths closed, Mitt Romney had an 11 percentage point lead over Obama. The state is worth 11 electoral college votes.
With only 1.1% of the votes counted in Florida, Barack Obama had a 51.3% to 48.1% lead over his challenger Mitt Romney.
However, with 2.7% of the votes counted in Virginia, Mitt Romney had a strong early lead with 60% of the popular vote compared with Obama’s 38.6%.
PRELIMINARY exit poll results for the US election have shown that most voters had already made up their minds who to vote for before the first presidential debate.
The New York Times reported early afternoon NZ time that about eight out of ten voters had decided before the October 3rd debate.
The newspaper said about 7 in 10 had made up their minds well in advance – even before September, when the campaigns were said to “really kick into high gear”.
Only 2 in 10 said they made up their minds in October or in the last week.
“That suggests that in the final weeks, the campaigns were increasingly fighting over a smaller and smaller number of potential supporters in the country,” says the NY Times.
The Times also said that preliminary exit poll results suggest that Romney’s comments about the poor helped shape opinions about the Republican nominee.
In February, just after winning the Florida Republican primary, Mitt Romney said on CNN: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
According to the NY Times, surveys have shown only a small percentage believe that Romney’s policies would favour the poor. “It’s striking that ten months after the “very poor” comment, voters seem to remember.”
A CNN exit poll showed non-college educated Ohions (29%) 55% for Obama, 44% for Romney.
According to the Washington Post, preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for the Associated Press early afternoon NZ time have shown that 60% of voters consider the economy the most important factor.
About 4 in 10 said they thought the nation’s economy was improving, but more said that things such as unemployment and rising prices were getting worse.
About half of the voters surveyed said previous president George W Bush shoulders more of the blame for the state of the economy than President Barack Obama.
Just a quarter of those surveyed in the exit poll say they are better off than four years ago.
Political analysts from ABC, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC have agreed to “report general trends but cannot report the results of exit polls until the polls close,” according to Poynter.
Poll day electioneering
Opinion polls in the US showed the presidential race between Obama and Romney as “neck and neck”, but Obama held a slight lead in some crucial battleground states.
One report after about 30 million people had voted indicated all the swing states except for Colorado had a higher percentage of people voting for Obama than Romney.
In past years the presidential candidates have taken election day off, but this year both Obama and Romney were continuing to campaign even as voting is underway.
The wider electoral campaign was described by CNN as a “chess match”, targeting specific states and demographics in a bid to win the race hinged on the social and economic divides within American society.
Mitt Romney, however, continued to campaign in Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Early indications showed Obama had a slight advantage in the crucial state of Ohio, which could give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the state-by-state contest.
The Washington Post reported that Romney visited both Ohio and Pennsylvania on Tuesday to meet with working class voters in both States.
His running mate, Paul Ryan, made a solo visit to Virginia, also a key swing state on the same day.
The Democrats have dismissed these tactics as “desperate”.
US news site Dawn.com reported the two candidates were tied in all opinion surveys – which caused some analysts to predict the popular vote could provide a stalemate and the election will be divided in the Electoral College.
Stuff.co.nz reported that the close race raised the prospect of a disputed outcome similar to the 2000 election, which ended with a US Supreme Court decision favouring George W. Bush over Al Gore after legal challenges to the close vote in Florida.
Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have assembled legal teams to deal with possible voting problems, challenges or recounts.
IMAGES: Daily Mail, USA Today, Channel Images and Media.Salon.