After a hard fought contest, President Barack Obama last night won the US presidential election by trouncing his Republican rival Mitt Romney to secure another four years in the White House.
Predictably, Mitt Romney won in several Republican strongholds, but President Barack Obama won in several of the battleground states such as Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Iowa, Virginia and Pennsylvania that determine the outcome of presidential elections in the US. He also won California, a major Democratic stronghold with 55 electoral votes.
As at press time, polling results monitored by THISDAY showed that he had secured about 274 electoral votes with the total tally expected to inch up to 300 by the time all the votes are counted. To win the US presidential election, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes.
However, early results showed that Republicans are most likely to retain their majority in the House of Representatives, while the Democrats will hold on to their majority in the Senate.
States won by Romney included Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, Nebraska, Wyoming and Louisiana.
Obama, on the other hand, won more of the densely populated states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Vermont, Michigan, New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Washington DC and Maine.
Maine awards electoral votes by congressional district. Obama has won three out of four in the state, with the final not yet called, the BBC reported.
Of all the states called last night, only Indiana switched hands since 2008, when Obama narrowly won it.
After a keen contest that began nearly two years ago and cost more than $2 billion, national polls by Washington Post/ABC News and the Pew Research Center both gave Obama a three-point edge over his rival.
More than 30 million voters had already cast their ballots before the polls opened, with more than 30 states allowing either absentee voting or early voting in person. That is nearly a quarter of the total votes cast in the 2008 presidential election, when more than 130 million people voted.
In areas of New Jersey and New York that were damaged by storm Sandy a week ago, turnout was described as heavy. One high school being used as a shelter for displaced families doubled up as a voting centre.
Across the US, voting took place against a variety of backdrops - from a launderette and an internet cafe in Chicago to a lifeguard station in Los Angeles and car dealership in Columbus, Ohio.