US voters take to the polls
American citizens have gone to the polls to vote in this year’s Presidential race – described by many as one of the most contentious elections in recent history.
Real Clear Politics, a site which aggregates all major polls, has shown Democratic incumbent Barack Obama to have the lead at 48.5% of the vote, with Republican nominee Mitt Romney less than 0.5% behind at 48.1%.
The American states gaining most attention are so-called “swing states” – states which do not historically only vote Republican or Democrat – where Obama has a slight lead, notably in vital swing state Ohio, where Romney trails Obama at 46.7% to 49.7%.
Both nominees have put lawyers in place in all the swing states should the need for a recount arise, and already both Ohio and Florida have seen legal challenges mounted over the curtailing of early voting rights and rows over IDs.
Were Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, to be victorious, he would be the first Mormon President of the United States. Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday, Romney said: “”We’re one day away from a fresh start. We’re one day away from a new beginning.”
President Obama disagreed, saying in Columbus, Ohio: “We know what change looks like, and what he’s selling ain’t it.”
On his last day of campaigning, Obama focused on the three key mid-western swing states that would likely give him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the election – Wisconsin, Iowa and Idaho.
Speaking in Des Moines, the President said: “I’ve come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote. I came back to ask you to help us finish what we’ve started, because this is where our movement for change began.”
Romney also focused on key Republican must-win states: Ohio, Virginia, Florida and New Hampshire. Speaking in New Hampshire, the Republican nominee said: “It’s all your votes that will help me become the next President of the United States. We thank you and we ask you to stay in it all the way to the victory tomorrow night.”
In keeping with tradition, the first votes were tallied in Dixville Notch – where Obama and Romney received five votes each – and in Hart’s Location, where Obama received 23 votes against Romney’s 9. The rest of the polls will begin to close at 2300 GMT.