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צילום: AFP
Barack Obama
Photo: AFP
צילום: AFP
Mitt Romney
Photo: AFP
Obama, Romney locked in tight swing state battle
Early vote-counting in Florida shows president, Republican challenger running neck and neck; President Obama holds slight lead in Ohio; Romney leads in Virginia

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were locked in a tight race with three critical battleground states too close to call on Tuesday as US voters decided between two starkly different visions for the country.

 

In early results, Obama and Romney piled up victories in the states they were expected to win easily. Early vote-counting in the swing state of Florida showed them running neck and neck, with a slight advantage for Obama. The president also led in the critical battleground state of Ohio, while Romney held an early lead in a third swing state, Virginia.

 

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Romney needs all three of those states to navigate a narrow path to the presidency, while Obama can afford to lose one or two of them and still win a second four-year term.

 

At least 120 million people were expected to render their judgment between the Democratic incumbent and Romney after a long, expensive and bitter presidential campaign that magnified the differences between Americans wanting to continue Obama's approach to fixing the ailing economy and those who want to try a new approach.

 

Florida is currently the scene of the tightest race: With 87% of the votes in, Obama is leading over Romney by nearly 50,000 votes.

 

According to the initial polls, Obama currently leads the elections with 238 electoral votes to Romney's 191. 

 

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Ohio, which remains too close to call, is considered the swing state to watch: In the past 12 US presidential elections, the candidate who won this key battleground state won the elections. A Republican candidate has never been elected president without winning Ohio.

 

Exit polls predict the following:

  • Alabama (9) – Romney
  • Arizona (11)– Romney
  • Arkansas (6) – Romney
  • California (55)– Obama
  • Connecticut (7) – Obama
  • Delaware (3) – Obama
  • District of Columbia (3) – Obama
  • Georgia (16) – Romney
  • Hawaii (4)– Obama
  • Idaho (4)– Romney
  • Illinois (20) – Obama
  • Indiana (11) – Romney
  • Iowa (6) – Obama
  • Kansas (6) – Romney
  • Kentucky (8) – Romney
  • Louisiana (8) – Romney
  • Maine (4) – Obama
  • Maryland (10) – Obama
  • Massachusetts (11) – Obama
  • Michigan (16) – Obama
  • Minnesota (10)– Obama
  • Mississippi (6) – Romney
  • Missouri (10) – Romney
  • Montana (3) – Romney
  • Nebraska (5) – Romney
  • New Hampshire (4) – Obama
  • New Jersey (14) – Obama
  • New Mexico (5) – Obama
  • New York (29) – Obama
  • North Carolina (15)
  • North Dakota (3) – Romney
  • Pennsylvania (20) – Obama
  • Rhode Island (4) – Obama
  • South Carolina (9) – Romney
  • South Dakota (3) – Romney
  • Tennessee (11) – Romney
  • Texas (38) – Romney
  • Utah (6) – Romney
  • Vermont (3) – Obama
  • Washington (12)- Obama
  • West Virginia (5) – Romney
  • Wisconsin (10) – Obama
  • Wyoming (3) – Romney

 

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The candidate elected as president will be the one who wins 270 electoral votes.

 

Going into the race, polls predicted that Obama will win 237 electoral votes, and that Romney will win 191 electoral votes. The remaining 110 votes, across nine states, will decide the elections.

 

American voters essentially empower the Electoral College, made up of 538 electors representing the states, to choose the president.

 


Obama and Romney (Photos: Reuters)

 

The nature of this system, which is often criticized as overly-cumbersome, is what lends the swing states their crucial weight in the elections.

  

The Electoral College will convene on December 17 and vote for the president. The results of the vote would be presented to Congress on January 6 and confirmed by both houses of Congress.

 

The American Constitution stipulates that in the event that each candidate receives 269 votes, the House will choose the president and the Senate will choose the vice president.

 

Reuters, AP contributed to the report

 

 

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First published: 07.11.12, 00:16
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