Barack Obama will serve four more years as the President of the United States. Here’s how it all unfolded.
BARACK OBAMA HAS won a second term as President of the United States, beating former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in a hotly contested election.
All major US television networks called the crucial state of Ohio for Obama just after 4am on Wednesday morning, giving the incumbent 274 electoral votes – well clear of the 270 needed to claim victory.
Below you’ll find our liveblog showing events as they unfolded throughout the night.
Things won’t be in full swing until around midnight, but we’ll be here to report on any tidbits that happen until then – so stay tuned!
To bring you up to speed in the meantime, check out Hugh O’Connell’s lowdown on what you need to know if you’re watching the US election tonight…
Speaking to Prime Time’s Richard Crowley, reporting from Washington, Washington Post columnist Colbert King says the result will be down to the wire – commenting: “We’re not going to have a landslide tonight.”
Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, said Obama’s chances had been permanently dented by his “disastrous” first debate with Romney – and that the incumbent “never recovered” from it.
So what if Romney were to win? King and Sesno are split on whether he would take a ‘centrist’ or right-wing position as president. “It may not be possible for Romney to move to middle and stay there,” King points out.
Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tells Crowley she believes it’s essential to keep swing state Virginia ‘blue’ for an Obama victory.
King and Sesno say the economy is still the “main concern” for US voters – and the preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press backs them up, with 6 in 10 voters putting this at the top of their agenda.
Only one quarter of those surveyed think they’re better off than they were four years ago, when Obama took the reins.
Anyone will tell you that the electoral college, the system by which the US president is elected, is ridiculously complicated – and they’re completely right about that.
But it all really boils down to this: there are a total of 538 electors (or electoral college votes) and the first candidate to reach 270 electoral college votes wins the presidency. Boom.
Keep your eye on the swing states, which will give the best indication of which way this race is heading – namely: Colorado (9 electoral votes), Florida (29), Iowa, (6), Michigan (16) Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10).
There’s under one hour to go before the first state closes its polls, but voting doesn’t end until 6am… So, to stop you from twiddling your thumbs, Sinead O’Carroll has put together a list of things to do while the American’s are casting their ballots.
Why not play the New York Times’ 512 Paths to the White House graphic, which provides the various paths-to-victory available to either candidate if they win in one of the more competitive states.
(Warning – it’s weirdly addictive.)
He knows it’s close. A last-minute appeal from the sitting president:
The Drudge Report has some interesting exit poll info – reporting that it looks like Romney will take North Carolina and Florida. Obama, meanwhile, could be set to take New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Miami and Nevada, according to the polls.
It’s apparently still a toss up in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa.
So, NBC are reporting live from ‘Democracy Plaza’ tonight, apparently… (any guesses for where that is?)
Outside Rockerfeller Centre. Go figure.
(Ps: those flags are usually the flags of the world. Message? The rest of the world is not getting a look-in tonight.)
If you’re suffering from election fatigue after all these months of campaigning, we’d like to remind you that elections can be great fun…
In case you need to visualise that…
Fun fact: Republicans haven’t won a US presidential election without a Bush or Nixon on ticket since 1928.
With minutes until polls begin to close, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney give another push:
All of our hard work these past 18 months comes down to what happens right now. Let’s not leave anything to chance.
We’re so close to the better future we deserve – we just need you to vote. Find your polling place.
A whole lot hinges on Ohio – but that doesn’t stop people asking…
I think that I’m going to win, intellectually, and I feel it as well.
NBC exit poll: 46 per cent believe US is going in the right direction, 52 per cent think it’s on the ‘wrong track’…
IT’S ALMOST TIME… polls close soon in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
Fox News calls Georgia for Romney….
Virginia and Ohio are the ones to watch here – it’s worth noting that Obama took a good chunk of the female and younger vote in Virginia.
Exit polls from CNN indicate the Latino electorate account for nearly 10 per cent of the vote, after turning out in a double -digit percentage across the nation for the first time.
Mmm it’s close. It’s very close. So, what happens if the electoral college is a tie? Gavan Reilly figures looks at ”where the fun politicking happens”.
Here we go again: West Virginia (5): Romney, North Carolina (15): too close to call, Ohio (18): too close to call.
(That means Obama 3, Romney 22, too early to call 58.)
CNN exit poll gives Ohio to Obama, 51-48.
FRUSTRATING FACT: North Carolina too close to call with a 49 per cent tie… just like Virginia.
NBC now giving South Carolina (9) to Romney.
Polls to close shortly in: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee
A word to the wise…
The incumbent appears to have the upper hand according to the first polls from the Buckeye State, which will be crucial – check out what’s going on in on Ohio and Florida so far…
Meanwhile, over on Fox News…
Good news rolling in for Obama…
Picture by: Kerim Okten/PA Archive/Press Association Images
New Jersey: too early to call (storm issues)
Meanwhile – Oklahoma and Mississippi go to Romney
Picture by: Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images
Every voter in the state of Ohio got the option to vote early this year – according to a (very early) count, Obama in the lead.
The Guardian’s Paul Owen:
AP calls Tennessee for Romney. Shocker.
Maybe so… but then what excuse would we have to do maths in the early hours of the morning?
Storm-ravaged New Jersey called for Obama by two networks.
Two networks call the once-Democratic state of Arkansas for Romney. Native Bill Clinton won’t be best pleased.
Votes on Columbus, in Franklin County, and Cincinnati seen as clinchers for which way Ohio state will swing.
Romney feels his campaign has “put it all on the field”, “left nothing in the locker room”, “fought to the very end”, and other big, manly metaphors – VIDEO via the Guardian.
Don’t start flagging on us now…
The auto bailout seems to have gone down well with voters in Michigan – does this spell good news for Obama in the all-important state of Ohio?
Obama takes New Jersey (14)
Minnesota is predicted to support Obama, having voted Democrat solidly since 2000 – with MBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, Real Clear Politcs and the BBC all expecting the incumbent to win in that state.
Colorado is a wild-card, having voted Republican in 2000 and 2004, but switching to Democrat last election.
Wisconsin has supported Democratic candidates in the past three presidential elections – even so, it’s predicted to be a toss-up there.
Finally, Arizona, is predicted to go with Romney.
If any of you have a problem with suspense, you won’t like this: queues mean final Virginia, Florida results could be delayed by hours. Sorry.
Voters in the queues have been advised to stay in line – if they’re there already, their votes will be counted.
Meanhile, Congress will remain divided for the next two years. Republicans will keep control of the House while the Democrats stay in control of the Senate.
We hope you like John Boehner, because he will remain the Speaker of the House for at least the next two years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaking from Obama HQ in Chicago Debbie Wasserman Schultz – US Representative for Florida’s 20th congressional district – says she thinks they might have an early night.
Prediction that Obama will take New Hampshire – where Romney has (one) home. Not good news for the Republicans.
Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat is back in the hands of the Democrats – and there’s another new generation of Kennedys in Congress – as Elizabeth Warren takes Scott Brown’s seat.
Elizabeth Warren, left, emerges from the polling booth as she votes in Cambridge, Mass. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
AP is calling Utah (6) and Montana (3) for Romney – no surprises on Utah, but Montana had been a toss-up.
Meanwhile the swing-states of Iowa (6) and Nevada (6) still remain too early to call.
Fox says Romney wins all 5 electoral votes in the split state of Nebraska, while Obama takes all 5 of Maine’s.
Itching for someone to take a one of these swing states so I can play this for real… #c’monsomeone
New York Times’ Paths to the White House
It’s still too close to call in Florida but Obama is shading it with over 7.4 million votes counted – around 84 per cent of the total. The president now leads by just a few thousand votes.
Arizona (11) called for Romney (John McCain’s home state) so no surprises there.
Meanwhile, CBS News is projecting Minnesota for Obama…
A landmark election in Wisconsin sees Tammy Baldwin become the first openly gay member of the Senate after defeating Republican rival Tommy Thompson.
Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, left, participates in a debate against Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin at Marquette University Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Al Gore GOES there.
Feeling a bit lost over tonight’s proceedings? Gavan Reilly’s bumper state-by-state spreadsheet could help get things into context…
In the next few minutes, polls will close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington. None of these are swing states but the 55 electoral votes of California, predicted to go to Obama, will significantly boost his electoral tally.
Obama is pitched to take Hawaii (4), Oregon (7) and Washington (12) too – while Romney is expected to take Idaho (4)and North Dakota (3).
Todd ‘legitimate rape’ Akin has been defeated in his campaign for a Senate seat.
Akin caused international furore when he said the female body could repel a pregnancy after a “legitimate” rape.
He’ll have a bit more time on his hands now, so we suggest he buys a biology book.
All the polls, expect for Alaska, are now closed.
Obama has taken Washington state, California, and his birth-place Hawaii.
Romney, meanwhile, has taken Idaho and Oregon is still too close to call.
We’re bating our breath for outcomes in the swing states amid rumours – and we stress rumours - that Romney has lost Florida.
President Obama wins the battleground state of Iowa – a massive boon.
NBC calls Ohio for Obama.
That means it’s all over folks…
OBAMA WINS FOUR MORE YEARS.
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Ok, that’s all folks. We’ll be bringing you the speeches and analysis later this morning and throughout the day.
Thanks for all the tweets and comments and – most importantly – congratulations to President Barack Obama!
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