Economy is main issue with US voters, exit poll finds
The US presidential election hinges once again on the economy, according to one exit poll.
The survey conducted for Associated Press showed 6 in 10 voters say the economy is the top issue facing the nation, with unemployment and rising prices hitting voters hard.
About 4 in 10 say they think the nation’s economy is on the mend, but more say that things are getting worse or are bad and stagnating.
About half of voters say the previous president, George W. Bush, shoulders more of the blame for economic challenges than Barack Obama. Just a quarter of those surveyed in the exit poll say they are better off than four years ago.
After billions of dollars spent, more than a million advertisements aired and hundreds of campaign rallies staged, Americans finally went to the polls today to decide who will be the next president of the United States.
President Barack Obama congratulated his Republican rival Mitt Romney today for running a hard-fought race for the White House and expressed confidence he would win re-election during a stop at a local campaign office to thank volunteers.
"I ... 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," he said as volunteers made phone calls encouraging supporters to get to the polls.
"We feel confident we've got the votes to win, but 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 we have that people fought so hard for us to have."
Mr Romney cast his vote in a Boston suburb this morning, saying he felt good about his chances of winning the presidency.
After voting, the former Massachusetts governor kissed his wife Ann goodbye and headed out for last-minute campaigning in Cleveland and Pittsburgh - cities in the crucial electoral states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Asked how he felt about his prospects in Ohio, he said, "I feel great about Ohio."
It was the first time Mr Romney has spoken to the traveling media corps since September 28th - a five-week silence.
Later in the morning, Mr Romney's vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan voted with his family in tow at the Hedberg Public Library in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.