Scroll down for latest updates and final results.
UPDATE: MONDAY NOVEMBER 5th
With President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney virtually tied in seven of the eight national polls on Election Eve, it seems the 2012 presidential race has come down to the wire with American voters divided.
Both candidates made their last push Monday to shore up support with intense, whirlwind rallies through crucial swing states.
In Madison, Wisconsin, Obama told supporters he envisioned an America where “everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same rules; that’s why you elected me in 2008 and that’s why I’m running for a second term!”
Outside Orlando, Romney said: “If there is anyone who is worried that the last four years are the best we can do, or if there is anyone who is fearing that the American dream is fading away, or if there is anyone who wonders whether better jobs and better paychecks are a thing of the past, I have a clear and unequivocal message: with the right leadership, America is about to come roaring back.”
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UPDATE: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6th
Election Day has finally arrived and the polls are open!
President Obama will spend the day in Chicago thanking supporters in a series of television and radio interviews and playing a traditional Election Day game of basketball.
Mitt Romney will break Election Day tradition of lying low in his hometown by campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania, key battleground states where polls show that Obama has a slight lead within the statistical margin of error.
UPDATE (9:00 AM): President Obama makes a stop at his campaign’s field office at Harper Ave and Hyde Park Blvd in Chicago to thank supporters.
He said: “The great thing about these campaigns is after all the TV ads and all the fundraising and all the debates and all the electioneering, it comes down to this. One day and these incredible folks who are working so hard, making phone calls, making sure that people go out to vote. So I just want to say thank you to the American people. It’s a source of great optimism for me whenever I come to Election Day because I end up having so much confidence in the decency and goodness and wisdom of the very folks who are working so hard trying to move their own small piece of this country forward.”
“I also want to say to Governor Romney, congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today. We feel confident we’ve got the votes to win that it’s going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that you have that people fought so hard for, for us to have.”
UPDATE (4 PM): Preliminary exit polls should start becoming available after 5 PM. According to Poynter.org, the major news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and AP) have agreed to publish only the trends, not the numbers, before voting closes in each respective state.
About 30 million Americans have already cast their ballots in person or by mail in early voting across 34 states and the District of Columbia.
UPDATE (4:30 PM): Voters continue to face delays across areas of New York and New Jersey ravaged by superstorm Sandy. The relocation of polling stations from areas damaged by water, electrical short-circuits and debris has caused long line-ups. New Jersey state officials have said that they will continue to accept ballots by e-mail and fax to Friday night after elections supervisors complained that they have been overwhelmed by voters displaced by the storm and the e-mail accounts set up to receive ballots were quickly filled to capacity.
UPDATE (5 PM): President Obama this afternoon played a game of basketball with friends and staff at the Attack Athletics facility in Chicago. Obama was player-coach for his team, which included Alexi Giannoulias, the former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic U.S
Senate nominee, and Scottie Pippen, former Chicago Bulls star. Obama’s team won.
UPDATE (5:45 PM): Early exit polls indicate that half of voters blame former president George W. Bush for the country's current economic woes, according to The Associated Press. Almost 60% of those asked said that the economy was the biggest single issue in this election.
UPDATE (7:30 PM): First polls close and results are beginning to trickle in.
CNN predicts Obama wins Vermont while Romney will take Kentucky. Early counting in key battleground states has Romney ahead in Virgina (59% versus 40% for Obama) and Obama with a slight lead in Florida (51% versus 48% for Romney).
Other reports indicate that Romney will win West Virgina, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana.
Obama currently has 3 of the 270 electoral votes need to win, while Romney has 33, according to CNN projections.
Earlier, Romney tells reporters on his campaign jet, "I've only written one speech at this point," saying that it is a victory speech.
UPDATE (8 PM): Early exit polls show voters split on Obamacare: 45% say they want it fully or partially repealed, while 47% want it kept as is or expanded.
Republicans appear likely to maintain control of the House.
Obama now has 64 of the 270 electoral votes needed, while Romney has 56.
Exit polls in Ohio show strong support for the auto industry bailout, which has boosted Obama there.
Obama has won the deeply Democratic states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware and the District of Columbia
UPDATE (9 PM): Obama now has 64 of the 270 electoral votes needed to take the presidency, while Romney has 76.
UPDATE (9:30 PM): Electoral votes: Obama 123, Romney 153 of the 270 needed to take the presidency.
UPDATE (10 PM): Electoral votes: Obama 143, Romney 153 of the 270 needed to take the presidency.
Obama will likely take Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes.
UPDATE (10:30 PM): Electoral votes: Obama 148, Romney 159 of the 270 needed to take the presidency.
Obama will take New Hampshire and its 4 electoral votes.
UPDATE (11 PM): Electoral votes: Obama 148, Romney 186 of the 270 needed to take the presidency.
Obama will likely take Minnesota and Romney Arizona.
UPDATE (11:30 PM): Electoral votes: Obama 258, Romney 200 of the 270 needed to take the presidency.
Obama will take New Mexico and likely the key swing state of Ohio.
SECOND TERM FOR OBAMA!
President Barack Obama won Ohio and six other swing states
to gain a second four-year term.
Heavy voter turnout and a fiercely contested race for the presidency that has cost over $2 billion underscored how deeply divided Americans are on issues ranging from the sluggish economy to the $1 trillion annual deficits, a $16 trillion national debt, and expensive health care reform.
Republicans maintained control of the U.S. Congress, promising continued partisan gridlock,
while the Democrats retained a majority in the U.S. Senate.
The candidates aired an estimated one million TV and radio ads in nine key battleground states—Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada—which represent 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed to take the presidency.
Romney broke tradition by campaigning on Election Day, as did Obama last month in Chicago by being the first sitting president in U.S. history to cast his vote early.
While Romney launched fierce attacks on Obama’s failure to improve the economy, exit polls showed that a majority of voters still blame the former Republican administration of George W. Bush for America’s economic woes.
Voters appeared divided also along demographic lines, with more white men favouring Romney, the first Mormon to appear on a general election ballot, and more women and minorities supporting Obama, the country’s first black president.
Romney lost both his home and birth states, as well as Ohio and six other swing states. No Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio. Obama won both his home state of Illinois and Romney’s home state of Massachusetts.
Obama e-mailed supporters, saying: "I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen."
And he sent out the following Twitter message: