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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Charles Dharapak/AP Mitt Romney campaigning in Florida yesterday: Barack Obama has outperformed expectations in Florida and holds a narrow lead as votes are counted.
# Swing States
Obama holds slender lead as Florida heads down to the wire
With over 7.4 million votes counted – around 84% of the total – Barack Obama leads by only a few thousand votes.

WITH ABOUT 85 per cent of polls counted in the crucial bellweather state of Florida, President Barack Obama holds a slender lead over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney – who desperately needs the state in order to stay in the hunt.

Figures broadcast by NBC News showed that with about 85 per cent of votes counted – and about 8.5 million ballots processed –  Obama leads by just under 40,000 votes.

The exact figures broadcast were 3,750,086 to Obama, and 3,710,709 to Romney. This translates to a 50 per cent share for Obama, and a 49 per cent share for Romney.

Speaking on NBC, Obama advisor David Axelrod stopped short of making a call on the state’s outcome – but did argue that the areas of the state which were left to declare, including the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward, were likely to lean toward the President.

A final result in the state could take several hours to process, however, given the number of people waiting in queues to vote in the state – even though polls closed there at 1am Irish time.

State law allows any voter who is in a queue to cast their ballot at the time polls close to remain present until their vote has been included.

Most polls had given Romney a slight lead in the ‘Sunshine State’, but that lead had been narrowing in recent days.

Florida’s 29 electoral college votes are a virtual necessity for Romney if he is to oust Obama; a win for the incumbent there, combined with his lead in Ohio, would make a second term almost assured.

Read: Queues mean final Virginia, Florida results could be delayed by hours

As it happens: Liveblog: US Election 2012