Turnout crucial to US election result
After billions of dollars spent, more than a million advertisements aired and hundreds of campaign rallies staged, Americans finally go the polls today to decide who will be the next president of the United States.
Most eve-of-election polls showed President Barack Obama with a razor-thin lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The winner will be determined by who gets 270 electoral college votes; most polling experts agree Mr Obama has more paths to get there.
A final national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed Mr Obama had the support of 48 per cent of likely voters, with Mr Romney on 47 per cent, within the margin of error. Real Clear Politics, which provides an aggregate of published polls, indicated Mr Obama was marginally ahead in all but two battleground states, Florida and North Carolina.
In a frantic final day of campaigning, both candidates predicted the winner would be determined by which of their operations could get the most supporters to the polls. “This is going to be a turnout election,” Mr Obama said.
At a rally in Virginia, featuring an enormous “Get Out and Vote” banner, Mr Romney said: “We have one job left and that’s getting people out to vote.” In response, the crowd chanted “One more day!”
Both Mr Obama and Mr Romney continued to present themselves as the real agents of change while painting the other as a return to the status quo.
Mr Romney visited five states on the last day and was due to host a final rally in a conservative area of the swing state of New Hampshire.
Mr Obama held a morning rally in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin, followed by a large rally in Columbus, Ohio.
He was due to spend the night in Chicago, where his campaign headquarters are based.
Both candidates meanwhile sought to benefit from some star power. Mr Romney was joined in New Hampshire by Kid Rock while Mr Obama had rapper Jay-Z with him in Columbus and Bruce Springsteen as his warm-up act.
In 2008, an estimated 130 million people voted, a turnout of about 55 per cent but that could be down slightly this year.
More than 30 million people have already voted in 34 states, either by mail or in person.