US election 2012 - as it happened - Live coverage - The Independent

US election 2012 - as it happened

Barack Obama defeats Mitt Romney in the battle for the presidency of the United States of America

  • Our man in LA Guy Adams, is preparing in earnest for the big night. Here's his update from Romney's campaign headquarters in Massachusetts:

    It's a huge steel-and-glass convention centre in Downtown Boston, decorated with red white and blue lights carrying the Romney-Ryan logo. In a demonstration of very Republican free-marketeering, the press have been charged an unprecedented $1020 for access to the location (we've had no choice but to pay), so I'm hoping they at least have a decent buffet.

    Follow Guy on Twitter and stick around here for updates from him through the night

    11/6/2012 8:19:22 PM
  • Meanwhile, David Usborne is in Chicago:

    Your man is successfully installed in the Chicago exhibition hall where Mr Obama will celebrate victory or concede in the wee hours of tonight. One thing that’s for sure: Grant Park, where he declared victory on the shores of Lake Michigan, it ain’t. All cold cement floors and concrete pillars. Democrats everywhere hope it will be warmed tonight by the fever of triumph, balloons and confetti.
    11/6/2012 8:23:36 PM
  • Here's David Usborne's view of the stage in Chicago where Barack Obama will either claim victory or concede defeat tonight

    11/6/2012 8:26:44 PM
  • From Guy Adams:

    Calm before the storm here in the press centre at Romney HQ. To pass the time, reporters are debating whether Romney's "Holy Cow!" comments this morning, to a Richmond Radio station (see AP below) were blasphemous. Google suggests they probably were. Naughty Mittons.

    "I can't imagine an election being won or lost by, let's say, a few hundred votes and you spent your day sitting around," Romney told Richmond radio station WRVA earlier in the day. "I mean, you'd say to yourself, 'Holy cow, why didn't I keep working?' And so I'm going to make sure I never have to look back with anything other than the greatest degree of satisfaction on this whole campaign."
    11/6/2012 8:33:32 PM

  • Amongst the excitement at Romney's HQ, the AP reports that in the cookie stakes at least the Republican challenger is in the lead:

    A bakery in Roseville, Minnesota offered Obama and Romney cookies to test its customers' preference in the presidential race.

    Owner Amy Johnson said her cookie poll in the past two elections correctly predicted the winner.
    This time Romney held an 830-to-731 lead over Obama in sales.
    11/6/2012 8:34:46 PM
  • Romney, meanwhile, is making his last campaign stop of the campaign, in Pittsburgh
    11/6/2012 8:39:16 PM
  • The world's press will be reporting devs at Romney HQ from beneath 30 ft screens broadcasting CNN and Fox News pic.twitter.com/lx58rcvG
  • Meanwhile Nikhil Kumar has written about those who have put the Sandy cleanup job on hold to get out vote:


    Long queues formed as voters were bussed in or driven to relocated polling centres, while elected officials attempted to ease the strain by allowing voters upended by Superstorm Sandy to cast provisional ballots wherever possible in their state. “We want everyone to vote. Just because you’re displaced doesn’t mean you should be disenfranchised,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, announcing the special measures on the eve of the polls.

    But Sandy’s lashing meant that the day was not without chaos and confusion. The New York Times reported that vote-scanning machines being used for the first time at many of New York City’s polling stations malfunctioned, complicating the already-challenging process.


    You can read the full piece here
    11/6/2012 8:46:01 PM
  • Reported malfuctions in the electronic voting process aren't limited to New York City. One voter posted this video to YouTube showing the machine's touchscreen changing a vote for Obama to a vote for Romney
    11/6/2012 8:49:16 PM
  • It's worth remembering, of course, that US politics isn't all about the presidency. As Anne Penketh writes, the House of Representatives and the Senate both play a big part in determining whether the next President will be able to carry through their agenda:

    The US Congress faced continuing gridlock as the country hurtles towards a “fiscal cliff”, with both the House of Representatives and the Senate unlikely to change hands despite record spending by outside groups to influence the result.

    However, one of the main features of the election is likely be the punishment of Tea Party-backed candidates who, after winning the support of the Republican party’s conservative grass roots in primary elections, could fail to be endorsed by their states’ electorate as a whole.

    Voter surveys have depicted an electorate as deadlocked over which party they want to control Congress as they are over the presidency. About 47 per cent of likely voters prefer Democrats, while 45 per cent favour Republicans, a Wall St Journal/NBC News poll reported last weekend.
    11/6/2012 8:54:32 PM
  • Here's the stage where Mitt Romney intends to deliver his first speech as President of the United States pic.twitter.com/35BWJa6B
  • Correction. He will be "President-elect"
  • RT @tylermachado: @guyadams I think it could use a few more American flags
  • Here's one of the two TV "risers" where network anchors will be standing pic.twitter.com/7fnxRjYP
  • 11/6/2012 8:57:38 PM
  • And here is the only bar. No beer on tap, but you can get a bottle of Sam Adams for $7 pic.twitter.com/sr1qBbZp
  • Nikhil Kumar writes from Ohio:
    Tired of the barrage of appeals for their vote, Ohioans are glad to finally have their say as the polls opened for the quadrennial contest for The White House.

    The Buckeye State was in America’s - and the world��s - sights, with forecasters predicting that it could have the decisive vote in whether Barack Obama gets another four years in Oval Office or if the Presidential baton passes to his Republican foe Mitt Romney.

    In the final furlong, the focus for the campaigns was on getting their supporters out the polling stations in this pivotal battleground that comes with 18 prized Electoral College votes. Crack teams of volunteers from both campaigns were knocking on the doors of likely voters across the region to remind them to vote. Free transportation was on offer throughout the day for many of those who couldn’t make it to the polls themselves. In Canton, the seat of Stark, the largest swing county in this coveted swing arena, the front page of the local paper came with a warning: “If you don’t vote by this afternoon, a campaign volunteer could be headed for your door.”
    Read his full report here
    11/6/2012 9:02:56 PM
  • Expecting (apparently) a solid win tonight, lifelong teetotaller Mitt Romney has instructed his aides to put sparkling apple juice on ice in preparation for the moment of victory.
    11/6/2012 9:05:45 PM
  • Need a recap of the race so far? Watch a quick catchup of the whole race here and look out for the secretly filmed footage of Romney that many feel was a turning point in the governor's fortunes. It's about 47% of the way through.
    11/6/2012 9:09:00 PM
  • “They’re throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if it will stick,”
    Obama strategist David Plouffe on Romney and Ryan's last minute campaigning in the race today.
    11/6/2012 9:10:42 PM
  • The president has run a strong campaign, I believe he is a good man and wish him well, and his family well. He is a good father and has been a good example of a good father, but it is time for a new direction. It is a time for a better tomorrow.
    Mitt Romney on Barack Obama earlier today
    11/6/2012 9:15:24 PM
  • As Guy Adams reported earlier, many of the polls are currently giving Barack Obama a lead or 1-2% (and within the margin of error):

    Behind the scenes, the picture is less rosy. With almost every major poll giving Obama a lead in the states he needs to reach 270 votes in the electoral college, forecasting analysts put his chances of victory at less than ten percent yesterday afternoon. On betting exchanges, he could be backed at odds of around 4/1.

    Like many recent surveys, today’s most detailed poll, for the website Politico, put the national race at a tie, with each candidate securing 47 percent of the vote. But in the ten States considered most in-play, the firm’s data showed Romney behind by a clear margin of 43 to 49 per cent.
    11/6/2012 9:16:51 PM
  • To those looking for timings for the night, the earliest a result could come in is around 3am GMT. The first few key states that are still in play include Florida (around 1am) and Virginia (potentially at midnight).
    11/6/2012 9:22:30 PM
  • @MittRomney has finally finished campaigning. The plane will be retired. He is headed for hotel downtown Bsoton to watch retrns with family
  • Nicolas Niarcos spoke to some of New York's poorest voters, in the Bronx, about their experiences of today. Here's his piece on meeting the 47 percent.
    11/6/2012 9:25:18 PM
  • Ohio, now the focal point of much of the election coverage, only went very narrowly to Obama in 2008 with 51.5% of the vote. Bush's winning share in 2004 was even closer at 50.8%.
    11/6/2012 9:28:02 PM
  • This could be big MT @ErinMcPike: According to GOP sources, Romney camp's "ORCA" turnout app has crashed, so they can't monitor turnout
  • Our poll has come out almost as close as the national polls themselves. 45% of you (729 so far) think Romney will win with the college and on the popular vote, and 50% believe Obama will take both to claim another four years in the White House.
    11/6/2012 9:31:25 PM
  • David Gardner in LA has a great explainer on some of the key concepts that will be in play tonight as well as what will happen if it's a tie:
    What is the Electoral College?

    It is the US institution that officially elects the president. The electors are chosen by each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The number — 538 — is based on the number of representatives in Congress, and it is made up of 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate. The extra three electors represent the nation’s capital. Bigger states with more representatives get more electoral votes, thus California gets 55 while tiny Delaware gets three.

    What happens if the two men tie at 269 votes each?

    The 12th amendment of the Constitution states that if no single candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives chooses the winner from the three candidates with the top vote counts. The Senate decides on the vice president. The Republican-led House of Representatives would almost certainly choose Mr Romney as the next president. The Democrat-controlled Senate would most likely plump for Joe Biden. The result? Chaos in Washington.

    How long would it take to know who is the next president in the event of deadlock?

    Days or possibly weeks because such a close result will result in challenges and recounts in states where the vote was close. After the lawyers became involved in the contest over missing votes in Florida in 2000, it was December 12 before George Bush was declared the winner over Al Gore.

    Has there ever been a tie before in a presidential election?

    Not since DC was granted three electoral votes to make a 538 total in 1964.

    Has the House of Representatives ever chosen the president?

    Yes, three times. The first time the House picked the president was in 1800. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied with 73 electoral votes each. The representatives flirted with choosing Burr over the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, but Jefferson finally won after 34 ballots.

    Has there ever been a president who lost the popular vote?

    Yes, four times, including in 2000 when George Bush squeaked past Al Gore in electoral votes. The others were in 1824, 1876 and 1888.
    via Standard.co.uk
    11/6/2012 9:35:20 PM
  • As Guy Adams notes, though the Democrats cast Romney and Ryan's last minute campaigning as desperation they weren't above some of the same themselves:
    The Democrat party was rattled enough, however, to send Vice President Joe Biden to Cleveland to ensure their rival didn’t steal all of the limelight. His jet, Air Force Two, landed at the local airport just after Romney’s, and immediately before that of Republican running mate Paul Ryan, causing awkward scenes on the tarmac.
    11/6/2012 9:38:19 PM
  • The room where Romney will give his acceptance/concession speech is surprisingly small. 1,000 people, max. McCain's was a lot bigger in 08.
  • Facebook's almost hypnotic vote ticker is registering live instances of users who've voted and updated their status to say so. 5.2m Americans have been tracked so far, with nearly twice as many women updating their status to say they've voted as men. You can watch it update live here
    11/6/2012 9:41:58 PM
  • Also... very ugly carpet.
  • RT @SkyNews: THE INDEPENDENT FRONT PAGE: The night America chose its future #skypapers p.twimg.com/A7DHIBECYAA6SyF.jpg

  • What was your favourite moment of the election campaign? Binders full of women, horses and bayonets, or the 47%? Or something else? Let us know in the comments (using the Make A Comment button above) and we'll post the highlights.
    11/6/2012 9:45:59 PM
  • RT @academicdave: @guyadams Obama's app failed in 08 (Houdini) but they had a back-up, question is does Romeny?
  • RT @ukpapers: #US Elections : Mitt Romney says he is expecting a 'very solid win' - http://ind.pn/RSq3T5 @guyadams
  • Hispanic voters will be as crucial in this campaign as they were in 2008, if not more so. Amol Rajan writes that, with eligible Latinos constituting 55.9 per cent of the electorate in New Mexico and a growing percentage of the population elsewhere, this contest is the last English-American election
    The pursuit of the Hispanic vote will fundamentally and irreversibly change the tenor and tone of the election. It would be ironic indeed if the legacy of America's first black president were to bequeath a country who elections were truly bilingual.
    Via Independent Voices
    11/6/2012 9:55:43 PM
  • In one Virginia town, Obama was listed on ballots as the Republican presidential candidate, reports CNN
    11/6/2012 9:58:08 PM
  • Online voting is being extended in New Jersey, as the new system put in place after Sandy is falling short. NJ Voters will have until Friday to cast their ballet if they are confirmed by state authorities as having been displaced by the superstorm.
    11/6/2012 9:59:44 PM
  • The infamous voting bug in Pennsylvania that changed a touchscreen vote for Obama to one for Romney has apparently been spotted again, according to CNN.
    11/6/2012 10:02:39 PM
  • A ripple of excitement through the press filing center at Romney/Ryan HQ: the buffet has opened!
  • Barack Obama took part earlier in an election day game of pick up basketball with, amongst others, ex-Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen. ABC 7 tweeted this picture
    11/6/2012 10:06:58 PM
  • Wonderful spread, but they've pulled a bit of a "small plate trick" p.twimg.com/A7DNrPMCEAApTa3.jpg

  • CNN: voting officials in Covington VA had to switch back to paper ballots after voting machines described Obama as Republican #Vote2012
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