D-Day for Obama, Romney

2012-11-06 07:23

Washington - President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney face the verdict of US voters on Tuesday after a long and bitter White House campaign, with polls showing them deadlocked in a race that will be decided in a handful of states where it is extraordinarily close.

At least 120 million Americans are expected to vote on giving Obama a second term or replacing him with Romney.

Their decision will set the country's course for four years on spending, taxes, healthcare and foreign policy challenges like the rise of China and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

National opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democratic incumbent has a slight advantage in several vital swing states - most notably Ohio - that could give him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.

Romney, the multimillionaire former head of a private equity fund, would be the first Mormon president and one of the wealthiest Americans to occupy the White House. Obama, the first black president, is vying to be the first Democrat to win a second term since Bill Clinton in 1996.

Fears of 2000 election outcome

Fuelled by record spending on negative ads, the battle between the two men was focused primarily on the lagging economic recovery and persistent high unemployment, but at times it turned personal.

Polls will begin to close in Indiana and Kentucky at 18:00 EST (23:00 GMT) on Tuesday, with voting ending across the country over the next six hours.

The close race raises fears of a disputed outcome similar to the 2000 election, which was decided by the US Supreme Court. Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to deal with possible voting problems, challenges or recounts.

The balance of power in the US Congress will also be at stake in the Senate and House of Representatives races that could impact the outcome of "fiscal cliff" negotiations on spending cuts and tax increases, which kick in at the end of the year unless a deal is reached.

Obama's Democrats are now expected to narrowly hold their Senate majority, while Romney's Republicans are favoured to retain House control.

Despite the weak economy, Obama appeared in September to be cruising to a relatively easy win after a strong party convention and a series of stumbles by Romney, including a secretly recorded video showing the Republican writing off 47% of the electorate as government-dependent victims.

Voter turnout

But Romney rebounded in the first debate on October 3 in Denver, where his sure-footed criticism of the president and Obama's listless response started a slow rise for Romney in polls.

Obama seemed to regain his footing in recent days at the head of federal relief efforts for victims of the storm Sandy.

The presidential contest is now likely to be determined by voter turnout - specifically, what combination of Republicans, Democrats, white, minority, young, old and independent voters show up at polling stations.

Obama and Romney raced through seven battleground states on the final day of campaigning to hammer home their final themes, urge supporters to get to the polls and woo the last remaining undecided voters.

'We know what change looks like'

Obama focused on Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, the three Midwestern swing states that, barring surprises elsewhere, would give him 270 electoral votes.

Romney visited the must-win states of Florida, Virginia and Ohio before finishing in New Hampshire, where he launched his presidential run in June 2011.

Obama ridiculed Romney's claims to be the candidate of change and said the former Massachusetts governor would be a rubber stamp for a conservative Tea Party agenda. "We know what change looks like, and what he's selling ain't it," he said in Columbus, Ohio.

Romney argued he was the candidate who could break the partisan gridlock in Washington, and said four more years of Obama could mean another economic recession.

"His plan for the next four years is to take all the ideas from the first term - the stimulus, the borrowing, Obamacare, all the rest - and do them over again," he said in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The common denominator for both candidates was Ohio, the most critical of the battlegrounds, particularly for Romney. Without the state's 18 electoral votes, the path to victory becomes very narrow for the Republican.


Polls have shown Obama with a small but steady lead in the state for months, sparked in part by his support for a federal bailout of the auto industry, which accounts for one of every eight jobs in Ohio, and by a strong state economy with an unemployment rate lower than the 7.9% national rate.

That undercut the central argument of Romney's campaign, that his business experience made him uniquely qualified to create jobs and lead an economic recovery.

Obama fought back with ads criticising Romney's experience at the equity fund Bain Capital and portraying him as out of touch with ordinary Americans.

That was part of a steady barrage of advertising in the most heavily contested battleground states from both candidates and their party allies, who raised a combined $2bn.

The rise of "Super PACs," unaffiliated outside groups that can spend unlimited sums on behalf of candidates, also helped fuel the record spending on political ads that swamped swing-state voters.

Romney planned to vote at home in Massachusetts on Tuesday morning before a final trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania, a Democratic-leaning state that he has tried to put in play in recent weeks.

Obama, who voted in October, will spend the day at his home in Chicago.

  • dirang.montsho - 2012-11-06 07:35

    obama for second term!

      modesta.amin - 2012-11-06 09:01

      The amount of likes and dislikes on your message dirang.montsho shows who is winning. lol

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-11-06 14:09

      Also look at the poll on the home page :-)

  • lulama - 2012-11-06 07:36

    I sure wish this was over...don't understand why we always get so 'excited' about American elections. Anyway good luck to both men, may the best one win.

      jason.dutoit - 2012-11-06 07:57

      the president of the usa affects us very much. it is better for sa if obama is reelected

      sachasea - 2012-11-06 08:11

      They're both morons in my opinion. If I could vote it would be the independent Gary Johnson all the way.

      chris.lategan - 2012-11-06 09:58

      Gary Johnson is by far the candidate with the best policies. If only he recieved the media cover the other two did this would be a very different election. If he gets at least 5% at this election he will recieve the same amount of funding for the 2016 election as the Democrats and Republicans. Go Gary Johnson!

      justin.hal - 2012-11-06 10:25

      Well this term will be interesting. Mounting debt.... 15 going on 22 trillion USD. Conflicts in the East. China floating Yen as reserve currency. Sustaining the misery of American life to keep big companies turning profits. Whoever wins, doesn't make a difference, their path is set.

      whatda.fuqbro - 2012-11-06 11:19

      SachaD: one of the 2 is the bigger mor(m)on though...

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-11-06 07:42

    They are both not fit to shine shoes but I'll take Obama over that zealot Mitt any day. - 2012-11-06 08:08


  • africanwolf - 2012-11-06 07:44

    Obama must not forget to fetch his clothes when he leaves the white house :)

  • emmett.wesleygarrett - 2012-11-06 07:46

    God-willing, our nation will come back to its roots and good standing internationally. Romney gets my vote and it high time we restored America's' name around the world. Obama, your time is up, America deserves a real president who understands military operations and has the conviction to enforce real change.

      larissa.goosen - 2012-11-06 08:02


      jon.jones.90663894 - 2012-11-06 08:12

      Emmett - Romney understands nothing whatsoever about anything military or geo-strategic. He is a two faced lying cowardly snake who has been 'rewarded' for his unquestioning zombie like obedience to his masters. He evaded military duty ( look it up -- he excused himself on account of his 'missionary' work ) . He was a 'pacifist' when it suited him. He claims to be pro-business but he closed down businesses and created unemployment when he was at Bain. And still had the gall to deny it in spite of the proof that was made publicly available. He did did not 'fix' the winter games. They were fixed by the time he arrived because the crooked and the incompetent had already left the scene by the time he arrived. He was given a cinch on that one. The question is why and by who ?. He will cut America in two as part of the great Mormon plan to take revenge on America. He is more dangerous than 1000 Bin Laden's. Obama has done some things right and some things wrong but at least he IS an American. Anyone who cannot bring them to suspect Romney's credentials needs to get out of the playpen. Romney is an an anagram of R MONEY -- arrrr MONEY !!!. That is what Romney is about and that is ALL 'Romney' is about. Be careful about what you want . You just might get it.

      sean.mitchell.3591 - 2012-11-06 09:34

      I'm a very keen fisherman, but what the heck with the dead shark photos on your FB page. Kills sharks for kicks. Really didn't expect such a red-neck from Boston, explains your choice of candidate.

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-11-06 10:06

      "America deserves a real president who understands military operations and has the conviction to enforce real change." .............................................................. You want another war?? You want to enforce your military will on Iran?? Jeez some of you right wing Americans sure are stupid.Do you not see how much debt the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has put the USA in??

  • collet.letsoalo - 2012-11-06 08:06

    Let the best man win.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-11-06 08:42

      They simply dont have a best man.

  • sachasea - 2012-11-06 08:07

    Have to say I'm more interested in finding out whether the Americans legalise dagga for recreational use in Colorado, Washington or Oregon states.

  • Mbuyazi Dube - 2012-11-06 08:08

    may god be with obama 4 da 2nd term - 2012-11-06 08:33

      I have so much respect for whites that vote for Obama for they can see above racial lines and vote on merit - I have yet to find a person of colour that would vote for Romney - thus i don’t respect their choice.

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-11-06 09:08

      Doberman, you sure dont get around much. Most of my black American buddies on FB vote Romney.

  • teboho.ramoabi - 2012-11-06 08:15

    I believe Obama should get this term as well. Four years is not enough to make significant changes

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-11-06 08:20

      I agree. He needs 4 more to bankrupt America completely at the rate he is going!

      sachasea - 2012-11-06 08:34

      The man is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist! Just what America needs during the Age of Austerity. Not! For a man who's catch phrase was 'Change we can believe in' there sure hasn't been much change at all. Has he even lived up to one of his election promises from the previous election?

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-11-06 08:47

    So today supposed be a day when the Earth is standing still and everyone holds his breath. Despite i feel the strongest disgust about Romney i think more than likely he will be a winner. The Americans are tired of being fed with Obama's promises and hope that a new president will change something about their miserable existence. They going to vote Romney in out of desperation though its a know fact that a desperate decision is never the best one.

  • lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-06 09:00

    Go Obama...............enough of war! enough of hate! enough of religious fanatic lunatics! OBAMA for president!!!

  • peregrine.smith - 2012-11-06 09:02

    Excuse me, but how many Democrats have been President since Bill Clinton, ONE, Mr. Obama. Dah.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-11-06 09:14

    Win obama win, don't let the rich red neck stuff it up again.

  • sachasea - 2012-11-06 09:18

    Obamney sucks. The mainstream American media have done an outstanding job of sidelining the other choices, but there ARE other choices. Independent Gary Johnson needs 5% of the vote to make a difference. Give your protest votes to Gary Johnson America. Give these guys a loud message that the two party state is corrupt and you're not willing to buy into their game any longer.

  • pages:
  • 1